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  1. 11 points
    We've all felt like doing this before.

    © CamdenT

  2. 10 points
    There's a thread on this forum dedicated to what we as Chip's Challenge players called certain game elements when we were younger that really intrigued me upon first glance. Some of the names given to the various monsters have been quite funny. (For instance, I didn't know that thieves have been called both "firemen" and "policemen"!) But I feel like another one should be made about the misconceptions we had concerning certain game behaviors when we first started playing. Wouldn't that be interesting? Perhaps part of my perspective stems from being only 5 years old when I first started playing the game, so reading the help file provided only limited understanding compared to engaging in actual gameplay and the experimentation that came with it. I'm assuming that's the case for most first-time players, though. I didn't understand what "following the left wall" meant for bugs - I just assumed that the game programmers somehow instilled set paths for them - nor did I understand that all grey walls were actually permanent. When I tried Nuts and Bolts for the first time, I saw the thief and the bombs above the opening area and thought that there was supposed to be some way to break through those walls to get to them! But no - the only walls that I could break through were blue, of course. Why do I bring this up? Because we've taken upon ourselves the rather awkward task of evaluating and voting on levels for a level set whose target audience is comprised of people who are the exact opposite of us veterans. These are the people who will struggle not only with understanding the game and its elements, but also with being able to control Chip to begin with. These are the people who will make the mistakes that we forgot we once made when we first started playing. These are the people who would lose patience with the game if the CCLP1 of today were constructed exactly as CC1 was, with a level like Nuts and Bolts throwing newcomers into the fire and steeply escalating the difficulty curve immediately after the tutorials. And sometimes, I think it's difficult for us to cast aside our veteran sensibilities and remember how these people feel - how we felt - upon playing the game for the first time. At the time of this post, there have been 10 voting packs (500 levels) for CCLP1 released and nearly 6,600 votes cast. Although the voting process is far from complete, I've begun noticing an interesting trend in the results - most of the top levels so far are either hodgepodge or "themed" levels with some degree of variety and (usually) moderate difficulty - though for a beginner, many of these levels would probably be fairly difficult and would fit right at home in the last quarter of CCLP1. In contrast, most of the CCLP3 top levels were those that obviously involved a lot of time and effort spent to build them, which typically meant that they were also the hardest of the bunch. A lot of these levels were also hodgepodge or themed levels as well, or at the very least, they were non-homogenous. But the irony of this penchant for non-homogeneity in individual level design was that by primarily using the voting results as the determinant for what was inducted into the final set, CCLP3 was a rather homogenous set when viewed as a collective whole. "Puzzle," "long campaign level," and "hodgepodge" would probably be the three main descriptors players would give CCLP3 if asked what kind of level best described the set. On the other hand, it's hard to nail down a specific type of level that CC1 featured a lot, mainly because the set itself had so much variety. (The same may be said of CCLP2, though some people might answer "invalid tiles" if asked that question.) So how can we avoid making the same mistake with CCLP1? Thankfully, the CCLP1 staff will be making the final decisions on what's inducted into the set and what's not for the sake of variety and the establishment of a friendly difficulty curve. I think this is important for any CCLP for the former reason, but it's especially important for CCLP1 for both reasons. But since we will be using the voting results as a guideline, we need some way to know what levels everyone enjoys besides the aforementioned hodgepodge and themed levels. If voting continues to go as is, there's going to be a huge mass of levels below the top tier that are averaging around 4.00 or so and a whole bunch of easy levels that aren't even reaching that point. So here are a few tips that I thought I'd pass on to all of you voters out there that I thought might be helpful to keep in mind when rating levels - especially when it comes to making sure easy levels get their due: - Not every level needs to be "extraordinary." It's true - the CC community of today is a very, very tough crowd to please. For the most part, we have a tendency to play and rate levels based solely on how interesting we find them. And we've seen and played so much that even our level design tendencies can often reflect this; many levels out there today try to outdo each other by trying to include just one more trick in their compositions than the last one. Again, though, there's an irony in this, especially with respect to designing for beginners. The easier levels that we often deem "boring" are most likely going to be the ones that newcomers would find interesting, whereas those that we find interesting would probably also be intriguing but sometimes frustrating for first-time players. The other major takeaway from this point ties in with the above bit about CCLP3: individually great levels do not necessarily make a collectively great set. A set composed entirely or even primarily of "epic" levels would get frustrating and repetitive after a while (in fact, some people would say that CCLP3 was exactly this), even if they weren't all difficult. Easier, smaller levels do have their place, even if they may not seem quite as engaging as the epic ones. - Try to avoid comparing apples and oranges. It's very easy for us to look at the easy, simple maze we're playing and think about the thrilling campaign level that included every game element or the level that reinvented the wheel for a familiar concept to which we awarded a 5. But why can't all three levels succeed on their own terms? While a collection of individually great levels doesn't necessarily make a collectively great set, a collectively great set is composed of individually great levels - specifically, a variety of levels that do a great job being what they were designed to be. Almost no one would say that it would be fair to compare Sampler with Four Plex from the original game; yet both of them are often praised - the former for being an excellent, simple itemswapper, and the latter for being an excellent campaign level. Is it fair to give that excellent maze a 3 just because it doesn't feel quite as thrilling as that giant hodgepodge level? For instance, I've given Chip Be Steady (Lipstick #50) a 5 out of 5 rating. It isn't a mind-blowing level that left me with a sensation of "Whoa!" when I solved it, but in the context of being a maze in which you had to avoid touching toggle buttons and a level that beginners would find inventive, it succeeded. The only other levels I'd even be thinking of when looking at it would be similar mazes in which the player isn't allowed to touch the "walls," not the campaign level with every game element included that I may also enjoy too. The reason why this one in particular stood out was because of its symmetrical "border" with the colored doors and teeth waiting to be released, which made it look a lot neater than similar levels. - When evaluating easy levels, don't look for the interesting - look for the uninteresting. Yes, you read that correctly. But it deserves a bit of clarification. The aforementioned designing tendency to outdo other levels by including more "tricks" in them is especially harmful to easy levels. As veterans, we tend to frown upon levels that feel more minimalistic - though not necessarily trivial, even for a beginner. Maybe this is because we've played the game so much that so little feels original to us anymore. We play through a level and immediately turn to one of those prepared level categories we've already created in our head so we can file it away under something like "blob level" or "ice maze." We may also turn to our preconceptions about those categories as well, some of which may be negative, even if the level would be ideal for a level set targeted at beginners. Sometimes, we may even have specific levels in mind that the ones we're playing remind us of, so much so that we're willing to discard them just because they feel like yesterday's news to us. But there's a difference between a level that's a blatant ripoff and one that does a commendable job being simple and generic, either by presenting its concept in an approachable way or by demonstrating some degree of artistic merit. Many of CC1's levels accomplished both of these objectives well. The problem with us is that we not only want to throw away these types of levels out of comparative instinct, but we also prefer easy levels that are inherently more complicated because they feel "more interesting." In many cases, these levels would be an inappropriate, muddled teaching tool for beginners and would be too uninteresting for later portions of CCLP1. Don't be afraid to give a deserving easy, generic level a good rating because it's generic and does a fantastic job being so, especially when that level excels with respect to design quality and playability. - CCLP1 may be a CC1 replacement, but it need not succumb to its shortcomings. I remember the very first time I went to a Chip's Challenge website. I was eight years old and was nearly done with the game, with the exception of "Totally Unfair." Richard Field's site had a complete walkthrough that came in very handy, but what was even more interesting than that was the collection of testimonials on the site about the game. Some of the levels that other people listed as the hardest to beat may surprise us today - levels that we as veterans find easy, such as The Last Laugh, Knot, or even Blink. It may seem unbelievable to us that they could be a challenge, but they certainly were. Another common thread from first-time players was that Nuts and Bolts presented a huge step up in difficulty from the lesson levels that preceded it. And I could totally empathize with that sentiment, as Nuts and Bolts took me an entire month to complete. Does CCLP1 need a "Nuts and Bolts" equivalent immediately following its lesson levels, or could there be some space in between to amp up the difficulty a bit before such a large level? Do we need to wait to introduce partial posting until level 138, for instance? Or is there a level simpler than Partial Post that could teach the concept in a different spot in the set? We shouldn't feel obligated to give CCLP1 all the trappings that made CC1 what it was; rather, we need to recognize what made CC1 work and avoid the areas in which it fell short while still being flexible. - Don't forget about what made you love the game when you first played it. Whenever I vote, this is the principle that I try to come back to - but it's also the one that I so often neglect. That desire to break down those walls on Nuts and Bolts is something that I forget when I play the game now. But when I think about what got me hooked on Chip's Challenge in the first place, it was that. It was that desire to break out of the box, to explore, to see what was around that next corner. In hindsight, I was so thankful that the gameplay window was only nine by nine tiles. I would spend hours trying to figure out the secret to the opening room of Paranoia while looking wistfully at the bugs roaming around in the room on the left. I didn't know what else was over there, but I was determined to find out. Sometimes, I think we now focus so much on dissecting the game, cram in as much content in as little space as possible in our levels, and find it easy to turn to the editor for a level map that we've forgotten the joy of walking around in open space, exploring that newly opened path, and remembering what made Chip's Challenge so fun to play to begin with. It's my hope that CCLP1 can recapture that sense of awe and wonder for a new generation through top-notch level design and accessible gameplay while still retaining the "challenge" part of the title that kept us coming back for more. Let's not forget about the easy levels along the way that prepare newcomers for those challenges!
  3. 8 points
    Once upon a time, there was a period in which Chip’s Challenge levels were fairly manageable. As I mentioned in my very first blog post on here, one of the first CC level sets I ever downloaded was just called “LEVELS01.dat” and contained the levels that would eventually grow to become CatatonicP1. There was also a set called “New Levels.dat” that had an unsolvable first level and an open melee level called “Guard Dogs” that involved teeth, which later inspired me to create my own version of the concept. And despite the shortcomings of these levels, I could tell that their designers wanted to create their own version of the CC1 experience that made them fall in love with the game in the first place. But oh, how far we’ve strayed from that since then. The years that followed brought about thousands of levels, and as far as I can tell, the simple life principle of “just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should” has gone out the window. “Bigger is better” became the mantra of level design for many, with several designers who felt obligated to fill up the entire map just because, well, they could. And if they wanted to make a smaller challenge, the design principle of choice would be to cram in as much stuff as possible in one tiny room because, you know, anything less would just be a waste of space.. And on top of that, the natural tendency of many was to complicate a level and feature as many of the game elements as possible because, hey - easy and homogenous have to equal boring, right? The sad truth is that when examined in light of assembling a set like CCLP1, all of these design principles fall short of - and in some respects, run diametrically opposed to - the design principles that made levels generally considered CC1 favorites what they were. In past blog posts, I’ve discussed why variety is important for any CCLP. However, in this blog post, I’d like to focus on something else, especially with respect to CCLP1: consistency. Now, that may sound rather self-contradictory at first. But let’s take a moment and think about all the different types of levels out there: Feel: open / closed Design: matriced / organic Gameplay: action / melee / puzzle / maze / speed / collection Size: small / medium / large Length: short / medium / long Structure: linear / non-linear Dominant tiles: hodgepodge / element(s)-focused This may not be an exhaustive list, but I hope we can see each of these types of levels well-represented in CCLP1. Now, I’d like to present a notion to you. It may sound radical, but just hear me out. What if, among all these different types of levels, design principles that transcend their differences existed among many of them in CC1? We toss around the term “CC1-ish” quite a bit, but considering that CC1 has been hailed as a variety-filled set, what does that really mean anyway? We seem all too content to just find “equivalents” to many of its levels for CCLP1, but if CCLP1 is meant to be a CC1 substitute featuring today's levels, shouldn’t we at least take some time to nail down what characteristics defined many of the most-loved levels from the original game and keep them in mind while we vote and at least clarify what we mean when we say “CC1-ish” so we can give each level the consideration it’s due? Or are we too afraid that establishing such standards would eliminate levels that fit our veteran sensibilities and steer us toward those that may feel less interesting to us? It may sound impossible, but I believe I’ve found three characteristics that fit the bill - characteristics that are conducive to beginner-friendliness and (at least so far) seem to have been forgotten by many voters at the ballot box. I’ve mentioned them here and there in passing, but I’d like to examine them more in-depth in a different context. If you examine CC1 closely, you will find that many of its levels exhibit at least two of these three characteristics. Hey, whenever we play any other game, we expect both variety and consistency in quality, so we can't the same be true for CCLP1? Freedom. This is a big one. It’s probably the biggest one that’s often overlooked in today’s level design paradigm. Remember how most of CC1’s levels allowed players to run around without the fear of tripping some button or collecting some item too early? Or just to experience the joy of running around to begin with? Whatever happened to that? This isn’t an issue of “open” vs. “closed” levels. It’s an issue of gameplay rigidity. It’s a tendency that manifests itself in level design because as designers, our natural tendency when we build levels is to think in goal-oriented terms, like this: 1. Decide what the player has to do to get to the exit. 2. Build everything such that every tile in the playing field contributes in some way toward that objective. 3. ??? 4. Profit! Okay, scratch those last two items off, but the second point is the clincher here. It’s the major contributing factor to an issue I like to call Designer Disconnect. In the previous blog post in this series, I talked about another tile-based game called Escape, which allowed the player to see the entire map and provided an unlimited undo function - both of which made it much easier to attempt hardcore puzzles. Chip’s Challenge, on the other hand, is not only more than just a puzzle game, it also allows the player to see only a 9x9 grid! This should give a lot of designers pause, but the sad truth is that it does not. Designers have the freedom to see the complete 32x32 map, and all too often, levels are designed as if the player could see the complete 32x32 map - or wants to see it. Is it possible that maybe - just maybe - we’ve forgotten about the thrill of discovering what’s around that next corner? What this all boils down to is that Designer Disconnect often interferes with a player’s natural desire to explore and experiment. When a designer builds a level with a solution in mind and throws down the pieces of that solution, it’s easy to forget about what happens or what is attempted when a player has no idea what that solution even is. Generally speaking, the more complex that solution is, the less freedom the player will have to take a look around and the more the player would have to remember, especially since the game has no checkpoint / undo feature. And the more the player has to remember, the more the game feels like work. I’m just going to speculate, but if I had to guess why CC1’s levels were not exactly all that complex, this is probably at least one reason why. The issue of rigidity may not be the same as distinguishing between “open” and “closed” levels, but our fascination with rigidity has certainly thrown many “open” levels under the bus. I honestly have to wonder how many of CC1’s simple, open levels would do if we had never seen them before and they were in CCLP1 voting today. Would we vote down Nice Day just because it wasn’t hard enough, and it didn’t give us that sweet satisfaction that comes with figuring out something difficult? Would we have a negative view toward Force Square because the wide open rooms around the titular square weren’t jam-packed with puzzles and were just nearly empty spaces? How about Metastable to Chaos and its spacious dirt room to send the bugs into? After seeing how voting has proceeded so far, I honestly have to wonder. CC1 often flew in the face of modern level design by not reducing everything to function and not resorting to irreducible complexity. Instead, we had arbitrary pieces of fire littering some levels, open spaces with absolutely nothing, and dead ends without any items to collect here and there. They may have seemed random, but from a design standpoint, they contributed to the aesthetic of each level and, in many cases, were quite calculated in their placement. At the end of the day, freedom is not just limited to the feeling of openness in a level; it’s a state of mind with which one can approach the game. Let’s take one of the more difficult, confined levels of CC1: FireTrap. This level has a variety of challenges involving monster manipulation and chip collecting, but although these tasks must be completed in a certain order, the player is left to discover what that order is without too much fear of necessitating a restart. It’s relatively simple to roam around without accomplishing anything for a while - and for the most part, there’s no need to worry about cooking the level! There’s even an extra block toward the bottom - how about that! This is a perfect segue to… Difficulty management. In the previous entry in this series, I briefly mentioned this characteristic as a positive trait of difficult levels. However, much like any transcendent quality, it can be applied to just about any level of difficulty when making a level that can be universally enjoyed. The premise behind managing difficulty is this: a game with over 40 unique elements is inherently going to be complex; therefore, a designer must manage a level’s inherent complexity if the level’s goal is to provide a fun experience. I understand that we’ve got levels in our midst whose sole purpose is to stump players everywhere and encourage them to draw diagrams that are meant to be studied for months before a solution reveals itself. And that’s great. But, for the purposes of this blog, I’m talking about levels for CCLPs, which are meant to be played by all types of players. The first step toward difficulty management is to identify exactly what component(s) of a level contribute(s) to its difficulty. Some levels are a challenge because of the concepts featured in them, and for those of us who are veterans, this type of difficulty is easy to spot. However, difficulty can also manifest itself purely on the basis of design, and I believe it’s this form of difficulty that we as designers and veteran players often underestimate. Levels that take a long time to solve or levels with a linear structure are, by their nature, at a disadvantage in the difficulty management arena. This is not to say that these types of levels are bad. It’s just that CC itself is limited because the measures that games often provide to make these types of challenges more bearable, such as checkpoints, aren’t available in this game. And if the level’s goal is to provide a fun experience, then the other elements in the level that contribute to its difficulty must be constructed with caution. What CC1 accomplished quite brilliantly was limiting its difficulty to one component throughout the vast majority of its levels and dialing down other components to help the player focus more easily on that particular one. Notice, for instance, that almost none of the pure melee levels in CC1 are linearly designed (and if so, they take on a simple A → B structure like the one in Problems rather than a complex A → B → C → D → E structure). Instead, they take place in wide open rooms where the player has the ability to walk wherever he or she wants while avoiding the monsters. The CC1 designers understood that something like monster dodging was going to be no easy task for their audience and tried to implement measures that would keep the player focused on the task at hand - dodging - rather than creating constraints to make things more difficult just because they didn’t look hard enough. So let’s take that principle back to the realm of linear/lengthy levels. Notice how CC1 hardly ever resorts to pulling out increasingly harder challenges as an extremely linear level progresses, nor do most of these levels punish players for making poor choices at a late point. This is because the more opportunities for failure are presented in a long level, the much greater the likelihood for failure and, by extension, the much more frustrating it would be. The hardest sokoban in Mix Up, for instance, was toward the first half of the level, whereas most of the challenges that followed were arguably easier. Even Four Plex, which is probably the most rigidly linear variety level in CC1, had challenges that were fairly self-explanatory. As the level progressed, the challenges became less ambiguous. The opening ice maze contained lots of different possibilities, fake walls to uncover, a few unknowns to discover, and a healthy dash of guesswork. In sharp contrast, the second area’s only big surprise was the bouncing blocks (if one didn’t explore before activating the cloner). From that point onward, there wasn’t really anything unexpected in each room. The northeast room was a monster manipulation puzzle. The next area involved navigating walls. And then, the final challenge was a simple itemswapper. Players could tackle each of these challenges knowing what they were and without any sudden bursts of designer trickery late into the level. Unfortunately, we as voters have tended to approach difficulty management with a stringent “all or nothing” standpoint based almost entirely on our playing experience (“How did this level make me feel?”) when evaluating levels for CCLP1. For many of us, it seems like the general rule of thumb is that if a level can’t be solved on a player’s first try, it must not be beginner-friendly at all and should be automatically discarded. I’m sure we’d have voters giving the proverbial thumbs down to Four Plex purely on the basis of the first room offering a few opportunities for failure. But not only would this voting approach be unfair to many levels, it also fails to recognize that failure is inevitable and to distinguish between different placements of opportunities for failure and how they affect the propensity for an enjoyable experience as they relate to a level’s structure. An isolated tough puzzle in a non-linear level, for example, that allows the player a greater degree of freedom in choosing the order of tasks to complete would be theoretically much less frustrating than a linear level that strictly establishes that same puzzle’s placement in the level at a late spot. The same could be said about the level that involves a bit of guesswork but actually contains multiple solutions or is somewhat open-ended. A similar principle applies to navigation challenges involving recessed walls, especially if there are multiple solutions involved and minimal complicating variables entering the equation. I’m sure even a simple (in design) navigation challenge like Apartment would be slaughtered in CCLP1 voting just because someone didn’t quite get it on their first try. The reality is that Apartment is manageable because it understands just how far it needs to go. Chips, walls, and recessed walls define where one can travel. That’s it. No force floors, no boots, elements, or thieves, no doors or keys. The level works because the design is basic, consistent, and symmetrical, and the end result is a beautiful challenge. But just watch well-designed navigation challenges like Anaconda (Omicron #2) and Cell Swapper (Mushroom #48) or open-ended, multiple-solution levels with a bit of guesswork like Puzzle Box (Jacuzzi #35) fall by the wayside because some people rely solely on feelings and not on discernable principles that helped make CC1 what it is to determine their landscape of CCLP1 ratings...even though both of these levels exhibit a remarkable degree of simplicity and difficulty management. And speaking of simplicity… Identity. This design principle worked in tandem with difficulty management for much of CC1. In fact, you could say that all three of these characteristics worked hand-in-hand throughout many levels. Once again, let’s start with the basics: identity is, in essence, a level’s ability to effectively manage itself. Levels with a strong sense of identity tend to be easily describable, primarily because designers who create such levels actually think through what they want their levels to be before dotting the map with tiles and building away. Levels that don’t have an identity crisis usually contain a discernable objective (or two) that doesn’t require a ridiculous amount of lateral thinking to discover. When we play, say, Digger, we know that the point of the level is to collect chips and find ways around teeth monsters to do so. When we play a level like Mishmesh, we know we're going to be pushing some blue walls. Once again, this type of level design feels so foreign to us today. I’m just going to speculate here, but if I had to make an educated guess as to why, it’s probably because to us veterans, such levels feel all too predictable. And predictable must equal dull, right? That’s probably why many of today’s levels feature room after room filled with completely different challenges that require the player to switch gears and think differently every time the gameplay shifts. It’s certainly a far cry from the low-key days of Tossed Salad or even Mixed Nuts. We’ve gotten to the point now where we recognize that trying to be too clever by injecting CCLP3-esque obfuscation and deception won’t win people over, but we have yet another quantum leap to make: recognizing that building a jumble of stuff just to say that our level is amazing and has more tricks than the previous one also isn’t really all that clever in an age where practically more than half of the levels out there aspire to do the same. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but personally, I find it much more impressive when a designer knows how to exercise restraint. It’s easy to see all 1,024 tiles in the editor and feel inclined to fill them all up. It’s much harder to know when to stop. Predictability to a person who has command over what to build on a 32x32 board is certainly not the same as predictability to a player who’s exploring that 32x32 board with only a 9x9 square viewport to look at while exploring. Thankfully, for the most part, CC1 knew just how far to go. Do you know, for instance, that adding a border around your level reduces the size to 30x30, eliminating 124 (over 10%!) of the 1,024 tiles? And if you stripped the level down to a more manageable 24x24, you’d be eliminating 448 of those tiles? CC1 certainly isn’t perfect at knowing where to stop, as there are definitely some exceptions - long block-pushing levels like On the Rocks come to mind - but even they avoided the pitfall of “breaking up” the homogeneity by forcing players to get their minds and fingers off block-pushing and onto something completely different in the name of “being more interesting.” From a difficulty management standpoint, it’s much easier to temper the inherent difficulty that accompanies length or linearity with simplicity and straightforwardness in the challenge. What I have to wonder is - why do we carry around a stigma toward homogeneity in levels? CC1’s levels managed themselves well because they understood that the game was interesting enough to warrant that focus on individual concepts more often than not instead of flitting around from concept to concept and - SQUIRREL! You get the point. So, to wrap this series of blogs up, I’m going to pose a challenge to you. As you rate the levels in voting, ask yourself the following questions: 1. If I were to take all the levels to which I’ve awarded my highest ratings, how consistent would these levels be with the design principles that made CC1 what it was? 2. From that list of most highly-rated levels, could I build a set of 149 levels that included a proper difficulty curve, levels that explored each of the game’s elements, and plenty of variety throughout? Be honest with yourself. Then play the levels. Examine them in detail. Think outside the fact that you failed or solved a level on your first attempt. Then get back to the ballot box. You’ve got an opportunity to help craft CCLP1 into a suitable CC1 replacement that is one of the greatest, most diverse, beginner-friendly level sets ever made by examining what made CC1 work and applying those principles here. Or, you can undermine the purpose of the voting process and throw around ratings solely based on how the levels make you feel. The choice is up to you.
  4. 7 points
    CCLP1 is old news. A cry goes out in the night: What next?!! It's good for us as a community to produce something together. Granted, it is not easy to work together, but so far the sets that have resulted from community collaboration have been well worth the effort. So what is the next project we should embark on together? Below are a few options. CCLP2 Lynx So this project is nearing its end, as the release date has been announced as August 9th. Fortunately, there are still things you can do to contribute. Stay tuned for more info upon release! CCLP4 This is the next natural set to work on as a community. However, when it will become a reality and in what form has yet to be decided. There are some who would like to get it started straight away, while others would gladly wait years before doing so. One side of the argument is that we already have tons of decent levels that just were not right for CCLP1 but could go in this set, while the other side is saying that we don't have enough new levels since the release of CCLP1 for this project to be useful just yet. Perhaps some of the staff members of CCLP1 (and CCLP3) are just worn out by the previous process, while some others are eager to be part of something communal. In the end, at this time, it is hard to say what the right next step is, as a common understanding of what goals this set should be are yet to be discussed. Is there a way for invalid tiles to make an appearance? When should the staff be assembled? Will there be teeth on level #123?? I believe these things will sort themselves out and this set will eventually happen, but it is possible some of these other ideas in this post will be finished earlier. Veteran Pack Another direction to go after CCLP1 is to make a set for experienced players. The exact difficulty of the levels in the set is not set in stone, but it could match the hardest ones from CCLP3. Having this set would open up CCLP4 to be easier, while still finding something for the audience who cares for difficult puzzles. I think this set would work with as few as a dozen levels. It could have a sequel every two or three years. I also imagine that there could be a ban on releasing solutions to the levels, so that solving the set would really be a challenge and a badge of honor. A major issue that should be addressed as soon as possible would be to settle upon a good name for this set. It should be succinct, different from CCLPn, and still be immediately descriptive. Post your suggestions below! CCLP3 for dummies This is a fun idea that I like a lot. The concept is to take a bunch of high concept levels, break down the key concepts and build them up again into something that a beginner could solve. In other words, take each level of CCLP3 and dumb it down. I think the key for this project to work would be to act more as a homage to CCLP3 by people who love that set, rather than just making fun of how difficult it is overall. It's hard to say if this will ever happen, but it would be fun to see a few levels designed in this vein. This is also another project where we could experiment with a different way to compile a community made set other than just voting from a large pool of candidates. CCZone-1 Over the years many levels have been made for the competitions here at CC Zone. I feel many great levels in those competitions are sadly soon forgotten. They are of course still available in the collected sets, but the presentation there is different from normal. Those collections do not provide a narrative or a difficulty curve, as they just lump together levels mostly chronologically. On the positive side, we now have the option to take a look at those levels again and try to see when we would have a critical mass of levels needed to build a new set from them. I imagine that point has not yet been reached, but perhaps soon we could attempt to select about 50 levels and create something cool. Stay tuned, and keep submitting your creations to the competitions! Remember, you can also try to make a Time Trial or Treasure Hunt level, and someone on the staff can use your level in a competition. Secret Project I can't say much about this one. If you want to be part of it, just hope you are in the right place at the right time. Deadline for this thing is way, way in the future, so don't expect it and it might just manage to surprise you. (Okay, a short hint: tentacle cornea) CCLP0 So by almost all fronts, CCLP1 was a success. I think a lot of this had to do with two things. First, the set had a clear goal in mind, and everyone knew what it was. Second, the set went back to the basics and emphasized the core of what is Chip's Challenge. Is the correct next step for us as a community to make an extra difficult CCLP4 after this success? I don't think so. Either CCLP4 has to be much easier than CCLP3, or else we need to make something else first. The name of this set hints at the idea that it would be even simpler than CCLP1. Or it could just be at the same difficulty level, but in an alternate universe. The point is that we still have a decent name to use for another set full of simple levels. So don't be afraid to make more fun and easy levels! Something Completely Different I am by no means a master of knowing how the wind turns, so I don't pretend to know how the community feels in five years, or what the next community project should really be. Perhaps someone already has a collaboration in the works that I have no idea about. What project would you like to see happen? How do you think we should keep compiling new sets for others to play? I feel that the way to make the next sets we produce together great, is to have some good discussion about them as well as some hard work. Talk more! And then go grab a friend and start experimenting with ideas for what would make you happy. Let's see what we all come up with! -Miika
  5. 6 points
    It's been a long time since I had news, so here's an informational update! I've added a control+click feature to insert a terrain without erasing the rest of the cell contents. Also, I'm working on dialogs to edit the properties of individual tiles. Here's a preview: I hope to be able to release a program update with these features in the next couple weeks, so stay tuned.
  6. 6 points
    February 9, 2002. Many CC veterans and long-time community members will recognize the significance of this date. It was the release day of CCLP2. Excitement pierced the online air. After years of playing and optimizing CC1 and being disappointed with the lack of release for CC2, the CC community finally had something different and official to get behind. New levels! New challenges! New records to set! It was all so fresh, teeming with possibilities to be explored. After the set was released, the first few months brought about a flurry of activity on the newsgroup. Scores were being reported every day. Busts were discovered. Records were being broken. People were threatening to rip each others' heads off if their records were broken. It was a level of involvement for the game that I still hope can be rivaled in the years to come. And in the wake of the optimization rush, people started thinking ahead: where do we go from here? What will CCLP3 be like? Let's start collecting levels and build something new! It should be fairly simple. It wasn't. CCLP3 wasn't released until almost nine years after CCLP2. Much of the delay has been attributed to the waning community involvement of the original staff and the piling up of submissions that took place over that time. Even though submissions didn't start until 2006, many sets were already created specifically for CCLP3 in the years beforehand that immediately followed CCLP2's release. When a new staff was finally formed, it took a mammoth undertaking to play catchup and test the gigantic mound of levels. But it finally happened at the end of 2010, and a new official set was born. Fortunately, CCLP1 managed to avoid many of CCLP3's delays by positioning itself as a specific kind of set, with a specific goal to achieve. Even though the work was plentiful, it was much more manageable. So...where does this leave us with CCLP4? After looking back at how the previous CCLPs were constructed, what the level design scene was like in the past, and what it looks like now, I've come to the conclusion that CCLP4 needs to become a reality sooner rather than later. This isn't normally where I'd land on an issue like this. Many of you reading might know from previous comments I made during CCLP1 production that I'm the last person who would ever want to rush production on a new CCLP, and that is still true. But I think we're dealing with a very specific set of circumstances this time around that need to be recognized. I'd like to dedicate this blog post to explaining my reasoning. Please note that although I'm not mentioning any other potential level packs that could be built in the near future (like a "hardcore" set, CCLP0, etc.), I'm still behind the idea of making them at some point. - We've already got a solid collection of levels from CCLP1 voting. This is probably the most understandable reason. We can all agree that the CCLP submission periods are typically kept open for a while so plenty of levels can fill up the pool, and thus, there can be plenty of options from which to choose when voting. But there's a difference here between what these pools theoretically looked like between CCLP3 and CCLP1, in which many new levels congruent with the set's purpose had to be created, and CCLP1 and CCLP4, in which there are (so far) no such restrictions, and many existing levels can be submitted again. It's especially worth noting that a lot of deserving difficult levels were given the shaft for CCLP1 for a number of reasons: they were too complex to begin with and didn't even make an appearance in voting, some of the ones that did were perceived by voters as less beginner-friendly than others, and the staff's attempt to establish a gentle difficulty curve meant limiting the number of difficult levels in the final tier of the set. So although there are also plenty of levels in this bunch that didn't make the cut by virtue of being poorly designed or not very fun, there is a very strong collection that could perform quite well in CCLP4 voting. - We've already got a solid collection of levels created after CCLP1 voting. The term "level factory" has been tossed around in reference to some very active designers in our midst, but it's also an interesting statement on the state of level design in general today. Although the number of designers may have decreased since, say, the age of heavy activity on pieguy's site, the rate at which levels - specifically quality levels - are saturating the potential submission pool is quite astonishing. The past year and a half has seen the release of and/or additions to sets like JoshuaBoneLP, The Other 100 Tiles, JBLP1, TS2, ZK2, ZK3, Ultimate Chip 3, JoshL4, JoshL5, and many more, with even more additions to some of these and entirely new sets on the way. What's really encouraging for a CCLP staff is that many of these sets have tried to incorporate some kind of difficulty curve, which helps introduce a form of variety into the submission pool. One of the indicators that can be an effective way to determine when it's probably a good time to start looking at working toward a set's production is to see if it's theoretically possible to construct a decent 149-level set from the levels available, especially if it's difficult to choose between a number of quality options. Personally, I think CCLP4 submissions are already at this point, though it doesn't hurt to keep them open for at least several more months. - The set needs to be constructed with CCLP5 in mind. This may seem like an odd reason, but it's an important one. If CCLPs are meant to represent the best of what the community has to offer, waiting too long can end up putting deserving levels under the bus - not only during the current set's production process, but also during the next's as well. Many designers who walked away disappointed after not seeing a favorite level of theirs in a CCLP have been encouraged to submit it again for the next. And as levels like Lazy Hourglass, Yet Another Yet Another Puzzle, Rhombus, Double Diversion, and Traveler show, it is indeed possible. But it's much more difficult when these levels are up against a brand new bunch that's taken the spotlight. Alongside that, waiting too long will bring about way too many "147 candidates" (read: ultra-difficult levels) from which to choose. Of course, the staff would need to be responsible for maintaining a proper difficulty curve for the set, but it would be that much harder for them and voters to make the difficult choices when there are so many of them. Plus, again, the levels that get shafted will have a much harder time competing for a spot in CCLP5 with so many new options available by then. I don't think we need to have CCLP4 submissions open past the end of 2015. In fact, I'd even go as far as to suggest that they should be closed in the middle of 2015. We've got the components for an amazing set at our disposal right now. Let's move forward. Though I personally don't intend to get involved with its production, I hope we see interest in staff positions from the community in the days to come.
  7. 5 points
    Level 91 "Pipe Maze" The atmosphere and name of this level is meant to evoke an underground pipe maze from the Super Mario Bros. series, and I'm quite pleased with how it turns out. There are a few places where you have to push a block and not follow it, but I always allow the player to look ahead and see that. The hint is meant to remind you that there's a water tile at the end of the slide leading out of the southmost section; I probably could have worded it better. I didn't notice until much later that you can't actually see the water at (10, 9) before you step into that slide, but I'm sure 99% of players pushed the block ahead anyway. At least if I had to accidentally leave an unforeseeable deathtrap in a level, I put it right near the beginning! Level 92 "Square Dancing" (CCLP1 Level 18!) I was getting close to the end of the set. I needed another level. I didn't have many blob levels. And so I constructed this level in approximately 2 minutes. At least for a blob level, it's not really stressful or frustrating, so I think it's fine for CCLP1. I wouldn't be surprised if this level had the shortest design time out of all CCLP1 levels. The name is a reference to Blobdance from CC1. Level 93 "Progress Ball" The name is a pun on "progress bar", which I later found out was also a custom level title. As this is a late level in the set, it includes a bit more trickiness than usual, such as the fact that you have to enter the glider/fireball room through a recessed wall the first time and through the force floors the second time, as well as the fact that stepping on the button at (30, 26) will get you stuck unless the ball is in the proper position. Of course, these details are probably still pretty easy to figure out for experienced players. Another one I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, and though it might've had a chance at CCLP1. You can pretty easily run through the big line of tanks in the southwest without using the blocks to block any of them off. Didn't feel like changing it since it's not really an important part of the level. I added the force floor at (19, 1) in an update. My reasoning for that was that if someone had astronomically unlucky timing, they could step on the (30, 26) toggle button while the ball was on the (18, 1) toggle wall and get it stuck on the left of that wall. But oh wait, if that wall's closed, then the ones next to the button are open, so no cook. Silly unnecessary fix (just realized that now) Level 94 "Bridges for Bugs" You know what the set really lacked, I thought? A long block-pushing level. Why did I think that? No idea, especially when Level 86 is already kind of the same thing. But as far as block-pushing levels go, at least this one is somewhat interesting since you're building paths for a bug and not just for Chip. It could also have been a lot worse; note that I limited it to about 1/3 of the map. This level introduces reuses (from Level 30) a mechanism I call "double cloning". Note that the clone button doesn't directly clone a bug; instead, it clones a ball which clones a bug and promptly dies. This way, the ball acts as the bug's controller boss and forces it to exit the clone machine to the north in MS, no matter what any previously cloned bug might be doing. Level 95 "Chomping Swarm" Remember Jumping Swarm and Slimy Swarm? This is like those, but with Teeth. I made a version of this in Levelset 1 that didn't quite work because if Chip was too far left, the Teeth wouldn't enter the force slide. I fixed that issue by designing it so that the entire playing field is several spaces right of the cloner, except for the path from the socket to the exit since the Teeth cloner is moot at that point. Also, the use of traps instead of walls to help keep back the swarm is kind of neat, I suppose. Using traps this way is a coincidentally similar concept to "The Grass is Greener on the Other Side", a Josh Lee level in CCLP1. Level 96 "Chip Away" The title is a pun I was surprised never got into an official set. The concept is based on the part of "Oh-Ho!" from CCLP3 where you have to clear some dirt and make a ball's bounce cycle longer, letting you sneak in behind it. In this case, you have to "chip away" at the dirt, locked doors, or chips to increase the bounce cycles and get the rewards at the ends. I think the level had some neat ideas, such as the multiple uses for the ball at (1, 22), but the core concept dragged at times. The chip line right before the chip socket didn't need to be that long. The hint is meant to get you past a couple of tricky decisions with your keys. You have to unlock the blue door at (3, 17) before the one at (13, 13), and at the end of the level, you have to unlock the yellow door at (17, 2) (which you can reach earlier, though it's farther from the yellow key) before the one at (6, 2), though in that case you can clearly see which choice is correct. I'm not sure the hint wording is quite as clear as it could have been. This level saw a couple of updates. First, I added force floors between the toggle walls in the bug line because I was having trouble with the bugs getting turned around in Lynx. Second, I changed the ball at (14, 18) into a fireball and added a water tile at (7, 17) so you could drown it and not get surprised by it when you're coming back through the (20, 17) force floor. Level 97 "Guardians" In Levelset 1, I made an extremely generic dodging level called "Guardians" that just consisted of concentric squares of monster paths, separated by full-tile walls, with chips in between the paths. Something like this: Well, I wanted to make it more interesting this time, so I compressed the old "Guardians", so there was no longer safe space between the paths, and put it in the middle, with four unique dodging challenges around the outside. I decided to have the monsters in those four areas be released when you grab the keys because that reminded me of the trope in various other video games or movies where a character grabs treasure in an ancient temple or something, and some monsters/spirits/golems come to life and start chasing him or her.... The first three dodging rooms look trickier than they are; in each of them, there's a spot in the middle where you can stand and the monsters won't get to you before you have a clear path to the exit (in the walkers' case, this is usually true). The Teeth room surprised me by being harder than I expected, but it's still doable. Depending on how you unlock the locks in the middle, you can make a swastika, but if you do that, you have no one to blame but yourself! Level 98 "Rube Goldberg" Whoo, boy. This is one of the hardest--if not the hardest--levels in the set. Tricky because you need to think ahead and keep track of what parity toggle walls and tanks will be in as things happen.... It includes a couple of concepts inspired by CCLP3. First of all, the level idea as a whole, where you need to set up an elaborate path for a monster to go through while Chip is stuck in a trap, is totally inspired by You Can't Teach an Old Frog New Tricks. Also, the key section in the west was inspired by Vulcan. Of course, a massive difference between this level and Old Frog is that in Old Frog, you have to make a lot of decisions that could cook the level before you can see the whole thing. In this level, I let the player see nearly all of it, enough that they can make the correct decisions without guesswork. For example, I even let you walk through the fireball/trap mechanism in the east yourself so you can see what will happen to the glider there. In an update, I added chips and chip sockets to the level, forcing you to explore the northeast before you start unlocking doors in the west. This way, you can see what positions the toggle walls and tanks are in, and therefore know how many times to hit each button. As a bit of trickiness, the only solution for the key section (as far as I know) involves making the glider pass over 1 green button...and 3 blue buttons. One annoying thing about the level is that once you clone a glider and hop into the trap, you have to wait quite a while to see if it releases you or not. To alleviate this, I tried to add some sound cues to the level that would play as the glider went through. The string of balls exploding bombs in the northwest is unmistakable to the ear when it happens. Also, in the same update where I added the chips, I added a toggle wall in front of the fireball cloner so it would shut off (and shut up) a short while after it had done its thing. Level 99 "I Wanna Be the Bit Buster" This level takes everything the set is about--friendly, intuitive, fair design--and throws it all out the window for one level of sheer evil fun on the part of the designer. It's only fitting for a level named after I Wanna Be the Guy, a game infamous for its extreme difficulty and traps that are unfair, creative, and made to do the opposite of everything the player expects. This was incredibly amusing to design, and apparently some players thought the traps were amusing to fall for, too, since a few people gave the level positive reviews. (And some gave it negative reviews, as I expected.) Just how many traps are there in this level? I'll count them below. Please don't look in there until you've tried the level for yourself! The hint for this level says "EASY" in all caps because, well, I figured some people might not like this level, so "EASY" is the password for the next level! Level 100 "Boss Battle" Even though this is the last level, I designed it pretty early...around 12th or 15th. It was supposed to be the midway point of Tiles 200 back when that was a thing, but I figured it also served fine as a finale for this set. The password is EASY because I think this level really is easy--much easier than #99 and miles easier than the previous action level (Water Slide). Fine by me; I generally dislike boss battles in video games, so the easier, the better. This is based on danmaku (bullet dodging) games. Since Chip can't really kill things in this game (other than by directing them into water or bombs), the "story" is that you're trying to infiltrate and sabotage a spaceship, so you have to dodge a barrage from its guns (which are shooting monsters at you) and press buttons to turn them off, then go inside, dodge the crew members, and bridge to the exit (simultaneously clogging its engine coolant tank and dooming it to overheat and break down). I intentionally made the patterns of the balls and the tanks pretty easy to discern and dodge. The fireballs are a bit trickier, as they're cloned randomly by blobs. The inside should be relatively simple. I'm slightly disappointed because when I built this level in Tiles 200, the spaceship actually looked vaguely spaceship-shaped. But that version was lost to the bit bucket along with the rest of that set. Try as I might, I couldn't pull off the same look here. At least the gameplay turned out the same. Conclusion What do I think of this levelset as a whole? I was quite pleased with the levels in terms of how fun they are to play, and I was especially happy to see the generally positive feedback from most of you who played the set! I'm also incredibly proud of getting 26 levels from this set into CCLP1 (and possibly some into CCLP4). One thing that I think of as a shortcoming of the set is that most of the levels are very easy to medium in terms of difficulty, and the difficulty curve is pretty flat until the last 15 or so. It's possible that, as the designer, the levels seem easier to me than they do to others. Still, there aren't any I would consider a challenge on the level of CCLP3 Level 100 or onward. (I've learned to appreciate difficult levels like the ones in late CCLP3 after playing them, though I didn't much like them initially.) Part of the reason for this is that I find it hard to design levels that are extremely difficult while also making them fair (giving the player all the information they need to solve them). I would try my hand at making a few more difficult levels in the sequel set, The Other 100 Tiles. I also think I tended to "play it safe" with the design in this set, not really toying with the player's expectations very much (level 99 nonwithstanding). Again, I would aim to change that a bit in To100T. Thank you to everyone who viewed my commentary! I hope it was at least a little interesting and taught you things you might not have known about my thinking and level design processes. I'll be starting the Developer's Commentary for To100T soon. Have a happy holiday season, everyone!
  8. 5 points
    Quite frankly, I wonder. Last night I had a crazy dream about Chip's Challenge. This isn't the first time it happens. I once dreamed that J.B. phoned me to ask me to help his wife get the role of Melinda in a film adaptation of CCLP1. I originally got the ideas for several of my levels (Two Sets of Items, Flying Saucer, Container Ship in a Cyclone, etc.) in dreams. But this time, it is even more nonsensical. I was checking CCZone, like I do almost every day. There was Markus' post about CCLP1 in the blogs section, but there was also a new post in my blog. That was strange, I didn't remember posting anything. I checked out the post and saw that it was an early draft of a post I had wanted to make for a long time. It was divided in six groups of three paragraphs each. The first paragraph of each group was about CC. The second paragraph of each group was a deep question and I asked that the readers post their answers in the comment sections. The third paragraphs were in spoiler tags. They were supposed to contain pictures from another forum, along with captions, but only the captions were there, and they made no sense without the pictures. I then check the comments section. There is only one comment, made by a member who doesn't exist in real life. His username starts with the letter r and he has no avatar. He answered all six questions. I give him a reputation point. I go back to the main page, and see that there are 11 members in the chat room. I then see that two members are following the blogs section, and I decide to follow that section too. After refreshing the page, I see that there are 49 members in the chat room. I put my mouse pointer over the link to the chat room without clicking, and this opens the chat room. Then, I see that there are two types of visitors in the chat room: registered members who are allowed to post, and unregistered guests who are not allowed to post. There are 49 registered members and a large number of unregistered guests (five digits). Nobody reacts at my arrival. I post this picture by accident and I don't know how. I didn't post a link to the picture, but the picture itself. Then, another member, probably random 8, posts a cat selfie. However, the cat in the picture looks a lot like my cat. I don't have a cat in real life but in this dream I do. I am horrified at the fact that a picture of my cat is available on the Internet and briefly consider deleting my Youtube channel and all my levelsets. Luckily, I soon realize that it's not my cat, because of the computer in the background, an old laptop running Windows XP. There are two open windows: a maximized browser window showing a forum (it's not CCZone), and a Chip's Challenge (MSCC) window that cannot be seen entirely. random 8 writes in the caption that the set being played is DwanT1.dat. Then, several other members post various websites. They don't post links to websites, but the websites themselves. Josh posts a magazine advertisement from the early 1900s. I try to copy all three pages of chat messages to a text document on my computer, but then I wake up. While this dream does not make a lot of sense, it made me discover one thing: I wish CCZone was more active. What do you think?
  9. 5 points
    I'm still letting that sink in. 500 is such a small, unassuming number as a number. It's a fairly short period of time in seconds, being just over 8 minutes. You can't do very much in 8 minutes. You can do a lot in 8 minutes (complete all but 5 or 6 official CC levels). It's an incredibly long time to have to make 0 mistakes during (Warehouse II, Cityblock). And when taken one item at a time, 500 is a veritable mountain. I'm not done optimizing, nor am I done with any of these scores (ok maaaaaybe done with CCLP1), but this is a good point to take a hiatus. These past dozen bolds have all taken a lot out of me and I definitely need the break to work on other pursuits, so for now I will just reflect on what it took to get here. (as well as the Chip Cup from the past 2 years, since I need to average 7th to lose this year... heheh) 500. Wow. February of last year, I scored 700 on Cake Walk to take 10th place in the original set and claim the Bit Buster award. I had 403 bolds at the time. Trying to go chronologically from here would be confusing, since I don't remember a lot of the specifics, but I do remember Ruben gained 1 second each on Teleblock, Lemmings and Jailer to reach 5,977,030 points and knock me out of the top 10 (November 30th). Naturally I refused to let this stand and went to improve my 413 Blobnet. That same day I spent a couple hours playing the level, at first copying Miika's 422 safe route directly and later using judgment to skip waits (but still no risks). This resulted in a quick 427, settling me firmly in 7th for the time being. But then I realized I could take a couple risks early on, cut a few corners and before long reached 431, meeting my goal of 430+ for the level. I am still yet to improve Block Buster or Cake Walk, but I'm much more confident in my ability to get a solid score now. The new goal is to pass Andrew Bennett on all sets: this seems doable with significant effort, but it feels like it can't be a bigger mountain than 500 bolds from 0 in this span of time. CCLP2 I'd gone through and picked off the easy bolds while playing through for the first time. This left me with some fairly significant execution challenges to overcome, and I made the mistake of sorting these into the same classifications I gave CC1 levels: Definite, Probable, Unlikely and HAHAHANO. Funny aside about HAHAHANO- originally CC1 had 4 levels in this category, being Blobnet, Blobdance, Cityblock and Doublemaze (I could see Block N Roll being something that happens at some point as 433 takes very little reacting). Now there are three, as I not only found 549 on Cityblock, but found and scored 550, beating pieguy!!! I'm not convinced my route is optimal, but I'm in the CC1 MS evolution page now anyway and nothing can take that from me (of the 500 bolds I have this is one of the ones I'm most happy with, and if you want to match it...well, don't be afraid to break the patterns.) Anyway back to CCLP2. The Definite pile was fairly small and easily scored. The Probable pile had a couple naive placements, like Jungle (seriously me?) and Island Hopping (only took about a half hour or so, wasn't too bad). Working through these didn't take too long to reach around 120 bolds, at which point I hit a wall. Oorto Geld II was a pain and I had to score it twice as the first time I missed the -.9 and got a -.0 instead. Iron Mysticus and Key Color also both proved much more challenging than I expected (Key Color in particular with a 1/10000 string of bad luck with the blob cloner blocking me the first time 10 times in a row...), but as usual persistence in attempting and practicing specific sections helped significantly. Wrongly pegging difficulties of levels continued as Icy Moat fell quickly (I expected to struggle with the timing, but it was close to 49 Cell which I already knew) but Madd Maze was a full day grind, with an abyssal RFF room success rate (my route through has an extra input compared to the AVI or TWS routes, but this extra input helped me as it meant I had a consistent input rhythm), and then the blobs kept directing the gliders wrong >_<. Eventually I worked through all the easy levels, and so progress slowed significantly at 480ish total (I'd been working on other sets during the CCLP2 focus, but not as much). Pauseless Captured and first try traps Gauntlet helped, as well as saving a bunch of long sokoban routes for all in a row. After Cityblock, I moved to CCLP3, scoring two new records (Countdown with Hornlitz and Get a Clue solo!) and copying a bunch more routes. Checkers and Flame Thrower were two non-public routes I was able to find with minimal difficulty as well. Flame Thrower in particular was a lot of fun to work out a route for in the editor, and then I just adjusted when I would pick up certain chips and scored 370.6 immediately. A small tweak to the last room to trade [1] for [2] and a chip was all it took for the bold of 371. I also found the Alphabet Soup route a few days before scoring it (thanks James for pointing out that my 948 was the 949, but missing a move in execution which snowballed >_<). Three days ago I got access to MSCC. It was the second most frustrating experience I've had with this game (I'm getting to the most frustrating, don't worry) as Every. Single. Input. was delayed by an entire move. I had to count out how many times to press the key individually, then not screw up the rhythm and on the longer walks I was counting "1-2-3 1-2-3 1-2-3 1-2-3 1-2-3" or "1-2-3-4 1-2-3" or something else like that. The actual teleport skip in Graduation was trivial. This was bold 493. The previous two days were spent on long sokobans. On the Rocks and Mind Block were both very simple to score, especially after noticing Mind Block had a consistent pattern and 'merge point' in cloning another block. One of the biggest route memorization aids I've found is finding a place that must be visited between phases and remembering what happens between those visits to that point. For Warehouse I, the next bold I scored, that was dropping a block into a bomb. Executing and remembering the route took a couple attempts, but was ultimately much easier than I anticipated. Yet Another Puzzle took a few more tries than I expected but was still fairly easy. And then we got to Warehouse II. I tried scoring Warehouse II back when I first played through CCLP2 last year. It didn't end well and I took b-191 initial solve. I expected a repeat, but all the maneuvers made sense to me this time around (thank you, optimizing Shifting Maze out to 832!) and I was able to score the perfect decimal after only about 60 minutes! I expected it to take much longer than that. Oracle II on the other hand, was an interesting blend of everything thus far. Long opening (2.5 minute first room, very easy to remember) and then a more complex second half that I kept making small mistakes during. I was still able to score 598 after another hour or so, though it nearly gave me a heart attack when I lost 3 moves on the final trip up from the bottom! (oof, oof, missed spring slide) And so I reached 499 MS bolds. All the way back at 470ish I decided that number 500 should have an appropriate title and you already know it's Which One Next? This was a dumb decision. I regret everything. This was the most frustrating experience- not for remembering the route, no, that was easy with a carefully notated map ( http://i.imgur.com/VldpXwA.png). All of my frustration here came from execution, as there is really nothing hard in this level (other than the 11 teleport run about halfway through). But I kept screwing up the simplest things, and it took me 3 hours of attempts (over the span of a lot longer than that) to realize I was trying to teleport too fast. Slowed down the pace, found the right rate, and had a flawless run going all the way until 30 seconds left, where entered a station from the wrong side. Then I had another perfect run to the very last teleport sequence, where I still went too fast. Finally, I managed to not screw up the ending after losing [1] in the 11 teleports to take my 795 and 500th bold. I am not looking forward to Oversea Delivery after that. Anyway, thoughts on a couple levels and stuff! CC1 levels Lesson 7: Taught me how to boost sort of okay. I kind of brute forced attempts until scoring bold 20+ months ago. Trinity: Taught me how spring slides sort of worked. I kind of held the key every time and hoped to change directions right. Now I know to double tap things. Hunt: Taught me that following every step exactly the same as a reference route is a recipe for dumb mistakes. I copied the beginning and then just made up a path for the rest as it really didn't matter. Blobnet: Much much later, taught me how to spot whether blobs were on their moving turns or their non-moving turns. Blink: Taught me how to spring slide properly- with the double tap and then direction change. I do still hold sometimes for when all the direction changes are equally offset, however. Arcticflow: Taught me that practicing specific areas was much easier with a copy of the level edited to only be that area. It still wasn't an easy bold at all. Mishmesh: Taught me how to play off a map. This has come in handy a LOT. Seeing Stars: Taught me that pausing to help remember routes was viable. I've since honed this quite a bit farther, but for the sake of real time I rarely use this technique. I Slide: Taught me the value of good notes. This has also come in handy a LOT, and not just with simple moves. Combining an encoding, textual instructions and a map on the side is how I execute routes with a lot of variety and backtracking. Spooks: Taught me that pieguy is unsurpassable, and sometimes unreachable. Also taught me that J.B. is nearly on the same level. Four Plex: Taught me that the publicly available route, even when it's the bold, isn't always perfect. Cityblock: Taught me that pieguy is beatable, hooray! Mixed Nuts: Chips under blocks are apparently my specialty and I learned more about how spring slides work to save time here. Still not enough for a new record.. :/ Mix Up: Taught me I could remember long sokoban routes. It was around here that the reasons why certain orders saved time started clicking for me. Yorkhouse, and to a lesser extent Catacombs: Taught me not to trust Andrew Bennett's probability calculations. They always err on the side of optimistic, as Catacombs is 1/655 and not 1/455 and Yorkhouse is way below 10% odds. The grind was annoying, but... CCLP1 levels Graduation: Taught me that MSCC is garbage and how did I ever play with this and how did anyone ever put up with this and how does James even manage now it's impossible. Also, Teleport Skip Glitch is easy someone add to Tile World please so I can score Skelzie. Wedges: I can blocks! Tetragons: RFFs aren't that bad... Square Dancing: Always test your routes before counting moves, and always count the free first move when counting moves. Descending Ceiling: If something seems weird about the scores people have, there's probably a couple tricks to find and each person missed a different thing. Applied to Get a Clue. (hint, hint) Who's the Boss?: Shift-O is dumb. H2O Below 273 K: holy crap this game gets hard to execute fast wow (273 -.9 still very happy with this thanks) Mini Pyramid: Yeah, chips under blocks are definitely my specialty. Chip Kart 64: Note to self: sliding less tiles is faster than sliding more tiles due to more overrides and boosts. Colors for Extreme: Keep an eye out for blocksliding opportunities. Technically applies to Booster Shots as well, but this came first chronologically so Bowling Alleys: Just because a lot of the top players have the score doesn't mean it's optimal. Also applies to Get a Clue, but this came first. Also, just because you barely scraped another second out of the level doesn't mean that your decimal is optimal. The Shifting Maze: Yep. I can definitely blocks. Shuffling everything around, more loops, small timesaves, small "hey I don't need that!" moments... this is probably one of the most complex CCLP1 routes to develop. Time Suspension: When grinding RNG, set aside an entire day, have other things prepared to keep from getting bored, and the pull of a new record can outweigh a lot of tedium/boredom. Also, walkers are worst monster. By a lot. Portcullis: You can slip by the single ice tile clone thingy in Lynx. Huh. Easier Than It Looks: Ok seriously if the same route hasn't scored a second higher yet it's not going to without a change. Also, pay attention to teleports and where they lead. This can shortcut (hi Countdown!) Cineworld: Half waits suck. CCLP2 levels Use the Fish: Taught me to just boost for it when failure means death: going to slow means a restart in this setting! Madd Maze: RFFs suck. Just thought you ought to know. Just Enough: Tedious, tedious, tedious, so glad I get to copy a route instead of have to iterate the timing of everything myself...ugh. Roller Coaster: Just because the AVI is perfect doesn't mean I have to be perfect. Think through if moves can be lost, and if so, where do they start mattering. This goes double for the TWS losing 0 to the blobs but 6 to the walkers. I lost 8 to the blobs and 0 to the walkers in my run, since the walkers will often either let you past or kill the attempt. Monster Factory: Sideswipes exist. Better routes for travelling salesman problems don't. CircleMaze: Pay VERY close attention to heavy boosting sequences. 475 takes very little luck and 476 does not require >R (override) >R (override) >R at the end. Captured: Mouse clicks aren't so bad... Gauntlet: Random results will behave differently for everyone. I knew this already, but James mentioning how bad it feels getting stuck in the trap on 458 potential had me expecting it to happen on my first try past the walkers, so I was pleasantly shocked when it didn't! CCLP3 levels Lot in Life: Illogical routes sometimes trump logical routes. My poor 95 MS....my 95 Lynx though is pretty logical. Not easy to find without the right insight, though. Map the Path: It pays to be in the right place at the right time for the scoreboards. I was around when J.B. found 245, and was able to find it before anyone else came online. Looking back, I think this is the moment I realized "yeah. I can actually do this optimization thing." Recess: Even bad levels make CCLPs sometimes. Spiral: See previous level comment. Blazes: James gets ridiculous insights with monster interactions. Pay attention to them. Get a Clue: Pieguy is not perfect. I am able to find things he missed sometimes. (This, combined with the imminent J.B. look got me to take a look at Cityblock and score 550). Flame Thrower: Just because one person found routing the level easy/hard does not mean I will find it easy/hard. J.B struggled, I had no trouble. Conversely, James found 825 on ACD and I still don't see how an improvement isn't 826. I suppose finding a "half cycle" on the balls would be the key. Once Upon a Troubadour: Moving mouse clicks are a pain when boosting is involved. At least it's short. Countdown: Just because bold has been reached doesn't mean you should stop looking. Shoutouts to Shane for finding the trick I missed to raise 71 to 72, though if we hadn't, triple joint bold with J.B. would have ensued Checkers: Miika is really good with blocks. Listen to his ideas. In Lynx, slaps are awesome, splash delay is not, avoiding splash delay is. Mediterranean: Collabs are awesome. Long teleport runs are not. Which One Next?: Ok, what did I just say? Oh right, long teleport runs are not awesome. This is a bad level. Yay 500 bolds with appropriate title (and 501 has a recommendation already). Lead Us Not into Temptation: Walkers are still worst monster. Also this is more likely than Time Suspension, which is still unconfirmed. Despite the route having been public since I scored it. Manic Depression: Sometimes, just sometimes, randomness will go your way the first chance it gets. Also cross checking into rams is awful and the first bunch of this level is a huge pain. Mr. McCallahan Presents: Some busts are convoluted and use every part of a level and several obscure mechanics. This helped me fix Fish in a Barrel before anyone else caught the ridiculous MS only bust in UC4. Chip Cup I would have had a real shot in the 2014 Cup had I been around to enter the super competition...oh well. I still did well for what I was able to enter. I went into the 2015 season aiming to win, and so far I've built up quite the lead. Got sniped on the pieguy award with the survival competition last year by pieguy himself. Still haven't had a single treasure hunt competition to enter. Sometimes, the rule that better Lynx scores are counted as equivalent is silly when Lynx is clearly faster by a significant margin. The Power of Slide Delay Compels You! is a great level and I had a lot of fun trying to make everything I wanted to do with it fit into the level, as well as tweaking the slide delay rooms. J.B. is not infallible with optimization and can be beaten in time trials (I did so twice!). If a level gets updated, always look over the new possibilities. The past 22 months have been a ton of fun. Here's to another long period of time, more intricate routes, more fun levels and stellar community packs! I'm coming for that CCZone Awards Leaderboard overall first
  10. 5 points
    Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to playtest the forthcoming CC2 for bugs and other issues before its May 28 release. As part of that, I recorded a blind Let’s Play of the stock game and its 200 levels, which will go live on YouTube starting on release day. What can you expect to see in the game? Here are a few hints… WARNING: Minor spoilers! There’s quite a decent difficulty curve and plenty of variety to satisfy players of many tastes, with many levels of different sizes and gameplay styles. If you’ve played Chuck’s Challenge, it’s worth noting that quite a few of its levels were based on CC2 compositions. There are at least three levels that reference CC1 in some way. There are also plenty of level titles that would later be used again in custom and official CC1 sets. A few level titles: CHAMBER BOMB, SMUGGLER, PATTERN BUFFERS, IN THE SLIME, SAUCE FOR THE GOOSE, CHAOSLANDS, IDENTITY CRISIS. No worries - there aren’t any levels that are quite as long as ON THE ROCKS or PAIN here! One level is an early version of a level that would later appear in CCLP3. Speaking of CCLP3, some of the late game arguably approaches its difficulty, at least in the early triple-digit range. You can place doppelganger versions of yourself or Melinda on the map to do your bidding (defined by a red, opaque background), but you can also place multiple copies of yourself or Melinda as well. In the latter case, you’ll have to get everyone to the exit, making for some interesting puzzles that involve switching between characters. Want all the collectible bonus flags in the game? You may have to wait a while. The levels were designed before the turn of the century, so if you’re familiar with the level design techniques commonly used back then or in CCLP2, you know what to expect here. Before it was ever used in “Chance Time!” or anywhere else, the “choose your own adventure” level layout was first introduced in CC2, as shown in the level pictured below. There’s a level with 207 teeth. Get ready for a lot of strictly timed levels. Using other items or enemies to pick up and drop items will really mess with your head. There’s a level with 900 chips, and yes, they’re all required. The yellow teleports truly are a precursor to Portal. Not only do you have to think about where to place them, but in some cases, you have to place them in such a way that you can later partial post and pick them up for subsequent uses.
  11. 5 points
    Background information (VERY LONG VERSION): Background information (VERY SHORT VERSION): Levels 1-10:
  12. 5 points
    If Chip were a pokemon.
  13. 4 points
    Hello Chipsters! I am currently working on making a TASing emulator for CC! With this emulator hope to emulate Chips challenge accurately, and even improve on mouse emulation, as well as add many useful features for routing and even casual playing such as: Rewinding Savestates Frame-by-frame playing TWS Playback RNG manipulation And much, much more! Watch this video to see an early version in action Currently, 146/149 CC1 and 123/149 CCLP3 levels play correctly. There are still some simple things that need to be fixed. Version 1 will be released when nearly all solutions from the public tws's play back correctly. Github repository Feel free to request any features in this thread or by messaging markus#1180 on discord.
  14. 4 points
    Announcing CC Creator Public Beta! The editor is finally sufficiently done for a public beta release! Get it here: http://www.pillowpc2001.net/CCCreator. (Thanks to Mike for hosting it!)
  15. 4 points
    Yep, it's that time again, where a designer puts some record of their thoughts about their levels for everyone else to read. Today I'm going to be talking about Ultimate Chip 6, which contains 60 levels and will probably not be updated for quite a while to come. So let's dive right in! 1. Welcome to the 21st Century This was one of the first levels I put together after the time trial designs, and the goal was to craft a simple itemswapper with a very sprawling feeling to it. Does it feel like something that would have been made around the time CCLP2 was made? Possibly- but the design still has the modern touches of no rooms or hallways being diagonally adjacent. That's something that I personally don't like the look of in most cases, and that's why this level curls back in on itself. In hindsight, it's not the best introductory level for this set, but I didn't really have a better one, and I'm not unhappy with it as it shows that UC6 can and will contain... whatever I felt like throwing in. 2. Quantum Tunneling After Miika ran a mini TT with his own level, Twice the Fun, I decided I liked running through the upper ball corridor, especially with how the balls would bounce off to always allow passage if the first was survived. So I went with that on a smaller scale, added a bunch of bombs and a force floor slide to give the balls a second purpose, and had an easy level that was pretty fun to play. 3. Snowball Mountain Back to back ice aesthetic levels! I tend to use ice and force floors a lot in my designs, and also have an aversion to large empty spaces (that I'm working on, thankfully). Anyway, this level was originally conceived as a maze TT level, but it proved too easy to route. Level name borrowed from Ape Escape 2, continuing the trend of monkey game named ice themed levels after UC3's Frosty Retreat, UC4's Hot Springs, and UC5's Snowy Mammoth. Unfortunately, I'm out of Ape Escape ice levels without monkey puns in the name for the future! 4. Repetitive Repetition I had just watched the Game Maker's Toolkit episode on Hitman and the art of repetition, and had the thought- what if I could turn that into a CC level? That's kind of what optimizing already does, but how can I capture that feeling to create an entire level around it? Then the concept kind of morphed into "hey, let's make the same room 3 times but with minor variations that allow shortcuts lol" and it's not that good of a level. However, I've since re-used this repeated room idea to make a much better level that very few people have seen- I'll release it eventually guys, but for now, James says it's super legit. 5. Key Free The original idea here was a puzzle level where you'd alternate sides taking keys and boots and having to move several objects around in a multi-stage puzzle. Then I couldn't figure out how to begin designing such a puzzle and still don't have a clue (concept is up for grabs!), so around Thanksgiving I sat down at a relatives' house and threw this together. One of Tyler or Shane got tripped up by this level, surprisingly. It's pretty easy with a load of extra keys, but as a little optimizing bonus it's possible to end with the fire boots on the left side, saving some time. Honestly, that little tidbit is why this level stayed in its current form- I added a decent amount of little bonuses for the attentive in this set, and I'll point them out in these musings. 6. Sneaking in the Back Door Ahhh, this level. When I set out to build this level, I knew I wanted it to be rotationally symmetric and on an island, but beyond that I didn't have too much of an idea. Then I decided to place chips with a lock on one side, and a bomb on the other. This led to adding a teeth monster in order to skip a key, and the original design had 2 of each key and 1 teeth, requiring 0 teeth bombs. Then I changed it to 4 teeth and 1 of each key, and wasn't sure which version was better, as this was meant to be a fairly easy level. Mostly thanks to Miika's suggestion, I took a third option of 3 teeth (better symmetry at the start!) and 1 of each key, requiring 3 back door entries. You do have to be a little careful, but it's still not too difficult. 7. Tonberry Estates Walls from Key Farming, was entered in the Walls of CCLP1 create competition. Again, I'm mentioning Miika, but I'm sorry- that sokoban is clever and fits perfectly in the room. Oftentimes teleport sokobans revolved around partial posts, so I set out to build one that was non-trivial in that space and used the teleports as alternate loops. The rest of the level is some simple itemswapping, dodging and chip collecting, before some semi-blind fireball manipulations with a toggle button. I went through great pains to keep this part from being cookable, and I think I succeeded- though if you're not careful with the locks used earlier, you can render the fireball stuck. Don't do that. 8. Encased, Just In Case Oh look, a Time Trial level! This sort of chip collecting romp isn't too interesting to just play, but routing it was actually quite interesting. The original version of the level had recessed walls instead of red and blue obstacles, which would have created easier shortcuts but ultimately been less interesting. Other than that, there's not much to say here. 9. Tunnel Boring Machine I do like monster manipulation challenges quite a bit, and this level is nothing but a monster manipulation challenge, albeit a very lenient one with respect to monsters. You only need 8 or 9 total I think, and there are 16 in the level. That said, the dirt involved is a limited resource that has to be used somewhat carefully in order to access the central chips. Some will probably find this level boring (insert rimshot here) but I liked playing it in testing and still think it's a fun level- takes a little thought, but not full focus. 10. Tesla Foil Josh mentioned a concept about unmaking partial posts, so I tried my hand at building a level like that. Unfortunately, teleports can be pretty broken and the level is irredeemably busted. Despite this, the intended path is pretty interesting, using symmetry in design but distinct rooms to keep a theme going without overstaying its welcome. Oh and the ending has been described as "what" and "bonkers", even though it's just a toggle door path Even with the bust, this is one of my favorites from the set. Now I see why Andrew has done his designer commentary in groups of 10 levels. Must upstage everyone though- onwards to another... 5. 11. Red, Brown and Red Another time trial level, this time with a cloning theme and obviously inspired by Red, Green and Blue. Optimizing cloning is very difficult, as it generally devolves into chaos and just trying everything. My goal with this and the other level was to craft a cloning level based around ideas and specific smaller scale collisions, rather than spamming the button and hoping everything works. Did it work here? For the most part- the toggle door at the end was the trickiest part to try to route, and a solution one second faster than my 90% logical solution exists. When I was optimizing this (as I did so before the competition to ensure the process was reasonable) I identified a timing that would clear out the lowest bombs, and then tried a few variations with the spare moves I had until I found one that was fast. As a casual level, it's okay, borrowing more from Four Plex without the toggle buttons. Slightly tedious perhaps, but not uninteresting, thankfully. 12. Primordial Ooze Mazes with force floor walls have become slightly overdone in recent times- Forced Circuit by Josh, Jungle Fever by J.B., Cluttered Crosswalks and Bisection by me... these all do different things with the core concept, but ultimately are mazes where the walls aren't always walls. In this level, named after the second level of Ape Escape, I didn't really do anything to spice up the force floor sections. However, the water mazes I took advantage of the fact that they're water and added a few blocks to bridge to otherwise unreachable areas, adding a small thinking element to the maze. A few toggle doors to take advantage of the force floors later, and I had a symmetric chip placement maze that's actually pretty fun to play. The time limit is 280 because my time attack time is 2.80, though this will be dropping about .05 soon 13. Transmission After You Can't Teach an Old Frog New Tricks came onto the scene, full level monster guidance puzzles have almost universally been difficult, with Andrew's One Tank's Adventure being the easiest. Others that come to mind are Guiding Light (me), Set-up (Shane), Get the Ball Rolling (J.B.) and A Bug's Life (me), using most of the monsters in the game. I'd even tried making a level like this before I'd played OFNT that featured a blob, titled... A Boy and His Blob in UC2. However, that left a gap in easy guidance levels, and the humble paramecia is often forgotten, so I elected to change that. Side note- gliders and walkers still need this kind of level, unless there is one for either of them that I'm unaware of. Anyway, this level has another one of those bonuses for the attentive- there's no chip socket, as the chips were a last minute addition to try to trick people into doing extra steps. The dirt section can be done from either direction, the toggle and tank rooms require active attention (and setting up the tank room was a pain) and the ice room has been complained about, but it can be set up in advance or you can actually move the blocks with the paramecia chasing you! Yes, it's possible! 14. Interdependent Line Walls from Eddy's Honey Bomb, found in NSG-Rejects. This one was honestly inspired by The Witness, in a weird sort of way. There's nothing too out of the ordinary here, just a key ordering puzzle with a simple gotcha, a recessed wall section outlining some gravel, and luring a teeth through half the level to gain access to the exit. The means of exiting was something I'd specifically wanted to use for a little while, and the socket being only the first step out of several was another common design trope I wanted to avoid. Yep, UC6 as a whole looks at conventional design decisions, uses them for the most part, but the moment they became inconvenient I ignored them... which wasn't often. 15. Crazy Box LOL walker level. I still think Hysteria from UC5 is my best walker dodging level, but come on- it's practically mandatory to include one of these.
  16. 4 points
    First levelset dedicated to Miika: After being away from the game for over two years, I got interested in playing and designing Chips games once again. At first I just wanted to chose one of my favorite levels - "Road to Chip's Heaven" and totally rebuild it - which I have now done- called BRIDGES.. I started looking around the site to catch up on what has been going on. I realized that I had forgotten so much that I needed to email a few of my Chipster friends to relearn a few things, etc. Josh Lee was the only one that I was able to contact for help, which he has gracious been doing. When I was looking around the site, I read Miika's blog and noticed that Miika had also recently returned after being away for while. While reading Miika's blog, I saw a man that plays the game with integrity, not looking at an editor to see what to do. (I can't say that I do that) He likes to have the time to figure things out on his own. That is why I made the BRIDGES levelset. The two levels are just about the same except for the North West corners. The first level has no time limit to give the opportunity to figure out the level without running out of time. For those that like to approach the game like Miika, I had the idea that once the player knows the scheme of the layout, the player can then move on to play the second level to see how well it can be plaid - time wise. Also, the second level has a stealthy shortcut, which could be fun to discover. Due to Miika's approach to the game, and him coming back at about the same time as myself, I want to dedicate my first levelset to Miika. I have called it "BRIDGES" and have upload it. Note: Since I first made this blog (the first time), I discovered a mistake that I had made in my first upload, as I had added some block in the South East corner to make it look more symmetrical (that was a mistake) because I should have checked the level out before uploading the set. Well, since I had to fix that, I have made other improvements as well. plus redesigning the North West corner area. I left the North West corner in the second level the same as it was in the first upload. So, there are two version of that area. The first level's is probably a little more difficult. I apologize to those player that have already downloaded the mini level-set. I promise to do much better about checking things out. I am confident that BRIDGES is right now. It's good to be back! Ian Wilson-( thinker I.D.)
  17. 4 points
    This about the CC2 game engine compared to CC1. Not the levels or game elements. First of all, years ago; When I was first forced to start using tileworld [because MS chips challenge doesn’t work on 64 bit Operating systems] I used the MS rule set. That’s what I was used to and I liked it better. Lynx seemed very weird at first and I didn’t really like how a few amount of seemingly simple rule set changes really made for some major changes in level design. After a while however I got used to Lynx and grew to like it better. Now, I pretty much prefer it and I can’t really stand MS anymore. The main reasons; smooth animations not only look nicer, they make it much easier to play, to see where monsters are going and easier to follow chip around as well. Now whenever I play MS it feels so choppy and annoying. Secondly the glitches in MS are a pretty big hassle. Most notably slide delay and the controller/boss glitch. So it’s really nice to not have to deal with that. But now that CC2 has been released I must say that I like that so much better than either MS or tileworld’s Lynx. Not only because the game and the new features are awesome, but I like the game engine better. I feel like movements are slightly smoother and more fluid. It also feels like the hit-detection on enemies is friendlier than Lynx. So often when playing in tileworld I die while trying to step into a line of enemies or get caught by a monster when I wasn’t expecting it. I often misstep, either moving too far or not enough. If I’m really honest my playing experience with Tileworld’s lynx has been quite frustrating. Since I started playing CC2 I haven’t found any of these frustrations, at least not nearly to the degree of tileworld. The hit detection is very nice imo, the controls are slightly easier and feel better. I like the ability to reveal walls while passing by them, and the “splash delay” is minimal too. This was another nuisance in Lynx.* CC2 has its share of glitches too of course; some of which while I haven’t run into yet myself, I would image may be quite frustrating. But so far, nothing I’ve encountered has been as game-breaking as the MS glitches. Overall I really feel the improvements on CC2 far outweigh any negatives verses CC1. So for the most part I’ve stopped playing CC1, though I still play a level or two occasionally, I haven’t deleted the game forever or anything like that. But from now on it’s primarily CC2 for me. And any level sets I make will be for CC2. What other people’s thoughts on this? *this is a side point but that splash delay is weird imo. I recently saw a video of the Amiga version of chips challenge [which in graphical quality looks very similar to the Lynx] there is no splash delay at all!
  18. 4 points
    Hi, I guess I'm momentarily back. Recently I was hungry for a new puzzle game and decided to play through CCLP1. I was heavily active in the months before CCLP1, but burnt out too early to really play through it. I beat about 25 levels when the set was released, but quickly lost motivation and quit CC. So this was, for the most part, blind. I played the game on tile world lynx (as opposed to the awful, buggy and somehow popular 5fps port) and beat all but one level in 4 days. This isn't my return to the community, I simply felt like playing CC recently. I feel like I have somewhat of an outsiders perspective and haven't really been influenced by the hype. The set starts of exactly as you'd expect. However, after the well-picked lesson levels, CCLP1 presents a medley of about 80 levels which were all designed for the level 15 slot. No individual level was actually bad, however by level 100 I noticed that the set I was playing through hadn't reached Tossed Salad difficulty yet. Am I really not trusted to figure out how to dodge the enemies 2 seconds into Starry Night, or experiment on puzzles? I remembered back to the strategic dodging on Digger and Blobdance; the creative puzzles Four Square and Catacombs; and Blobdance and On The Rocks, which dared to be difficult. Due to an excessive focus on beginner-friendliness and "fair" design (can it be beaten it in 1 try), CCLP1 is simply boring. This is not a replacement for CC1. I understand that this game was targeted at beginners, not me, so please don't get too offended by anything I say. I know I'm being harsh. But this is just how I personally felt about the set. After the early-game snoozefest, however, the set becomes a lot better, and I enjoyed most of the triple digit levels. If only the set had reached this point sooner, and I see no reason why it didn't, I would've really like it overall. Thief, You've Taken All That Was Me was hands down my favourite level in the set. I guess that shows what kind of a game I was hoping for. Will I come back for CCLP4? Perhaps. Right now I'm even entertaining the idea of LPing it, but who knows how many times I'll change my mind in the decade before it gets released. One thing's for sure: if I ever play that Chips Challenge set, it's because I want a challenge. Something with a difficulty peak that puts CCLP3 to shame. But that seems unlikely, since certain members of the community will denounce anything that takes them more than one attempt to beat. At the very least, I want that feeling of being stumped by a puzzle. And that feeling of solving it after so much time and thought. I only weakly felt that twice in the four days it took me to finish this set.
  19. 4 points
    Okay, so for the last few days y'all have been making me look bad because, oh wait, I HAVE A LIFE. Well, a job anyway. Chip's Challenge 2 is pretty fun so far, but I'm only about a third through so we'll see. I would imagine that the call for new level packs will come in time. Some of you have already finished all 200 levels. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? I really hope we see some way to import levels into the editor, or make complete level packs in another tool. In the meantime, there is no reason to drop CCLP4. It might, in fact, play a supplementary role to CC2. People play all the level packs and say "isn't there more than this?" YES THERE IS.
  20. 4 points
    Shortly after I finished playing CCLP3, I started calling for CCLP4. Larry, in his infinite wisdom, said (and I'm paraphrasing) "Slow down there, young Newly! You don't wanna go off half-cocked." In the intervening years we got a very nice set put together (CCLP1), and it resolved the "we must do SOMETHING" feeling inside me. However.... Now we are at a bit of a crossroads. It takes at least a year to make a set. We went four years between CCLP3 and CCLP1. That is the outside limit in my mind. If we don't make a plan now, THIS YEAR, then CCLP4 will languish like CCLP3 did, and it'll take new "annoying boys" to get it going again. So, let's "DO SOMETHING!!!"
  21. 4 points
    Well, well, well. Zane Kuecks has outdone himself yet again! Continuing from the success of the highly acclaimed ZK3, Zane Kuecks delivers us a colossal new release, dethroning the mighty Jacques.dat from its title of the largest level set ever made. However, unlike Jacques.dat (sorry, Jacques!), this set delivers quality level after quality level. Seriously, this is like Pit of 100 Tiles combined with JBLP1, multiplied over by 200 (in terms of both quality AND quantity). This set took me about three years to complete, but trust me, all that time spent playing was well worth it. It gave me so much more insight into the human psyche that even the greatest works of literature and film could not provide. So I commend Zane for crafting this brilliant work of art. My rating: 4/5 7/10
  22. 4 points
    Sadly, any one of these panels does describe a day in the life of a Chipster.

    © Miika Toukola

  23. 4 points
    Where was I? My friend came over to install Jezzball for me, and while he was at it, he also installed Chip's challenge. Then he opened it to teach us how to play, which probably was a good idea because I doubt I would have bothered to try it if I had never seen it played. (Oh, all the great computer games I might have missed because they look boring at first sight and I haven't bothered to try them! Just as well perhaps.) I'm sure all of my siblings where there to watch this new game. You're a guy named Chips and you collect chips. Yes, we thought his name was Chips. So what are chips? Who knows, they are something to do with computers and you need them to get passed that grey gate that guard the exit square. I remember that the game seemed quite dull. I mean, how much fun is Lesson 1 really? Still, I was a little bit proud after finishing it. I know that most of you guys beat a great deal of CC1 at the age of five or so, and here was I, 13 years old. But please bear in mind that my experience of computer or video games was (and still is) very limited. This was mainly due to two facts, general disinterest from my side, and lack of equipment in my home. We got a TV when I was four, VHS player when I was 12, and computer when I was 13. And my brother eventually saved enough money to buy an xbox360 long after I left home. Before CC, my computer game experience was limited to Free Cell, Solitaire, some other card games, Mine Sweeper, Pipe Dream, Jezzball and Snake. Plus some Super Mario on Nintendo 8 bit at a friend's place. Later on, I played quite a bit of Sim City 2000, and my boyfriend (now husband) taught me StarCraft (so that I would let him play with his brothers and cousins). Still today CC is virtually the only computer game I play. Anyway, my siblings and me fell in love big time with Chip's Challenge. I remember thinking that it was so perfect. It had everything it needed, neither more nor less. Four elements, four boots. Two elements that kill you if you don't have boots, two that don't. Water can be overcome with the help of blocks. Fire cannot. FFs can be forced through, ice cannot. One monster can walk in fire, one can swim. One monster turns left, one turns right, one turns randomly and one just bounces back. One follows the left wall, one follows the right wall and one follows you. And one is simply random. Another one is controlled by buttons. I could go on about everything that is perfect in this game, but you all already know it. I do think however that the ice block would have completed the tile set in a nice way, but back then I knew nothing about it. I did miss a key stealing thief, and in the beginning we thought he took both boots and keys. My one sister is just a year younger than me, the other & my brother came about ten years later so they were very young at that time. They would come and ask me or my sister to play "Chips" so they could watch. But we had to turn the sound off, because my youngest sister would start crying at the "bummer"-sound when Chip dies. We tried to teach her to play, but she wouldn't get longer than Lesson 1 as she refused to play any level with a monster in it. We also loved the music. Well, the happy one more than the scary one. My sister has it as her ringtone today, and "bummer" is her text message sound. Guess that means she's overcome her fear.
  24. 4 points
    You Gotta love it when this happens.
  25. 4 points
    Towards the end of 2011, a team of Chipsters formed to assess the need and plausibility of creating a new edition of CCLP2 for Lynx mode. We want to now issue an update on what has been slowly going on and some of the motivation for this project. Chip's Challenge Level Pack 2 was the first collaborative production of the Chip's Challenge community, collecting the favorite custom levels made by players for all to enjoy all in one package. Many of the levels utilized behavior of the game that were not possible in the original levels, most notably the use of layered tiles to hide objects beneath others. A scoreboard was (and is) kept and the levels are currently highly optimized. As a collaborative effort of the whole community, it is considered perhaps the most official custom set to be collected, and was followed up by CCLP3 and the forthcoming CCLP1. At the same time some ten years ago, the first version of Tile World was released, allowing players to emulate the Microsoft rules or, for the first time on PC, the Atari Lynx rules. The MS rules were the default that players were used to and the Lynx rules remained mostly a curiosity. However, somewhere along the way it was suggested and accepted that the next set after CCLP2 should also be made compatible with Lynx rules, slowly leading to more levels that were compatible in both modes of play. Over the years Lynx mode has gathered more and more fans, many of whom prefer the Lynx rules for their smooth animation and lack of MS glitches. For these players, it has been natural that some of them also want to take a look at CCLP2 and see how it plays in Lynx. The answer is that it plays poorly, which comes as no surprise since the levels for CCLP2 predate the option of playing in Lynx, or even knowledge of how those rules work. About half the levels in CCLP2 are not solvable in Lynx. Fortunately Tile World can recognize that a level with so called "invalid tiles" is not playable in Lynx and does not allow those levels to be attempted, but there are still over twenty levels that masquerade as playable levels that ultimately are not solvable. It is frustrating to attempt a level without knowing if it is solvable, so at the very least this information should be easily available to players. In addition, some of the unsolvable levels are frustratingly close to being fine and need only slight tweaks to be solvable. Some levels can even be "fixed" in ways that are indistinguishable to the MS player, while others would require more work. This has lead to some players making their own unofficial changes to the set. Releasing such a self-modified set brings forth both the question of ethics and creates confusion about which set to actually play. We feel that this process can be done better with input from more than one person and an agreeable version of the set can be released that addresses these concerns. Here follows some principles that guide our motivation for this project. 1) Admitting that there is a need to address this lynx-playability of CCLP2. Some of this reasoning is listed above, but forming a team and acting on the idea still needs this step to be taken mentally. This point gives purpose to the project and show others that we want to do something about the situation. 2) Honoring the past. We never wished to head into this project lightly or to offend anybody for changing part of the community's history. CCLP2 in its original form is a precious part of our past, and we wish to honor the set rather than supplant it. 3) Keep this a collaborative community effort. Part of honoring what has come before and part of allowing this project to be accepted, is to have input from many members of the community. And of course, it is more fun to build something together than alone. 4) Document the process and keep it transperant to help others see why things were done the way they were. This aspect is perhaps more important in a project like this that builds upon something that has been made by others, than something completely new, like CCLP1 for example. We wish to show our reasoning behind the decisions that lead to whatever it is we are making. 5) Release something in reasonable time. One could keep honing a project like this forever, always making small tweaks that make the final product just a bit better. We have already been discussing the levels for over a year, and while that is not unreasonable in itself, nobody wishes to see this drag on indefinitely. Now we are at the point where we haven't released anything but want to start more discussions with the rest of the community about this project. Please feel free to post your comments, concerns, and wishes below. This mission statement is the first explanation of what type of things we want to accomplish with this project, as well as an announcement of our continued existence. Next, we will discuss more about the practical goals we have considered to achieve, and then give an update on what has already been done and what still needs work. Anyone willing can still help us out in realizing this project, and more information on how to exactly do that will be coming shortly! Thanks for your time, and may the paramecia never clone when you feel Trapped! On behalf of the CCLP2 Lynx Team, -Miika Toukola
  26. 4 points
    "Okay, this was mostly just on principle." I think this is an extremely poor sentiment (though I don't disagree with the rating itself).
  27. 4 points
  28. 4 points
    With the addition of blogs on CCZone and all, I thought this would be a good way to discuss my first experiences with CC, CC1 in particular, since I did not have much knowledge of the different extensions, the level editors, or any of that complex (well, for me as a five to seven year old, I'd say it would have been pretty complex.) stuff. I'll start, in this first entry, by talking about some of the earliest CC moments I ever had, the first ever computer video game I had ever played, and is still my favorite video game on PC to date. So let's go back to 2004. My grandpa had an old computer, a Windows 98, that he didn't want anymore, so I asked my mother if we could keep it, and of course the response was yes. The entire BOWEP (Best of Windows Entertainment Pack, for those who haven't heard of it) had been installed on that '98, and I had fun playing all the different games, some of my favorites being SkiFree, Rodent's Revenge, and, of course, Chip's Challenge. The first time I ever played it, I figured out how to play pretty quickly, and sped through the first nine levels on my first day. I think after that was when I quit playing that day. I remember later that night I had a dream about a teeth monster in a factory-like building with thin walls try to eat me along with a pink ball somewhere. I'll remind you I don't really remember much of that dream, mainly because that was nearly eight or nine years ago. I spent five minutes admiring the first level of CC.. LESSON 1. I went on to complete the lesson levels and, either completed or gave up on Nuts and Bolts, the infamous first real level of the game. Without realizing it, at one point during that day, I had enabled Ignore Passwords with Ctrl+K (I think I used +K, not one of the other... two?). The next day, or, my second day of Chip's Challenge-ism, I figured out that all the levels had suddenly been unlocked! So I spent my time playing the ones that looked pretty cool, like Cityblock (you gotta admit, that's kinda colorful) Four Plex (my favorite CC1 level ever), and especially All Full. I can't remember that much of the early days of my CC childhood, but from what I do remember I'll try to explain in best detail in the next entry of this blog, which I could probably write a series of novels on. Let's just say I loved Chip's Challenge as a five, six, and seven year old.
  29. 4 points
    Preview from my 2nd levelset Rock-Beta

    © © 2012 Rock "rockdet" Généreux

  30. 4 points
    Recipe for making a great set of levels: 1) have a sharp young mind 2) expose it to a cool game like Chip's Challenge 3) play the game a lot 4) make some levels 5) destroy all the levels created so far 6) play the game a lot and climb up the score boards 7) make more levels and release them 8) submit yourself to all forms of critique on the levels 9) organize a community effort to create a cool set (like CCLP3) 10) make more levels and reuse old ones to create a set of levels that you are happy with If you would like to try a set that is created using this recipe, download this set and enjoy. If not, CC is not the game for you.
  31. 3 points
    CCLP1 (MS) 093: 327 (+3, b+1) [Flame War] (joint bold with Kacper, set November 5th) So, this happened. I did say I was going to go for the rest of these if this happened... 028: 276 (+1, b) [The Last Starfighter] (1 hour of attempts, set November 6th) I went for BoaP first, immediately after. After a few hours I went to sleep for the night. When I got back from work (early, due to being sick) on the 6th I didn't want to continue that grind. So, I went for this one and miraculously got it. Probably around 7-8 hours total, +/- 2 hours counting my past attempts. I'm super glad I didn't choke the execution here. Then back on the BoaP grind. I ended up unable to go to work on the 7th due to this stupid cold. That just meant more blob time. 117: 255 (+2, b) [Blobs on a Plane] (8 hours of attempts, set November 7th) It's better to be lucky than good. I made a tactical mistake on the way back from the suction boots after a good thirty second think, with a blob 2 tiles up and another 2U2R. I had misjudged the second blob and thought it could interfere, and so elected to step LU instead of U, deliberately spending my 2 moves of buffer. In hindsight, this was a mistake given the probabilities of success for what I knew. U was more likely to work as LU given an L blob move would spell disaster. Except, I had misjudged the step AND U would have been immediate death, as the blob moved D, and so LU was actually the correct decision in a vacuum for survival! Though even given hindsight, a very difficult move to have to make. And so, the last of the random levels fell. (further analysis shows that some of that analysis could be wrong. Regardless, my mental picture and the actual level didn't mesh and I made a questionable decision that happened to be the absolute correct one) 051: 274 (+1, b) [H2O Below 273 K] (slightly earlier today) This one was inevitable. Still took 5 or 6 hours of attempts, but some heavy duty practice on the left half paid off. Dropped [1/2] in rooms 6 and 7 but hung on in the end. 6,006,000 (147 bolds) (b)
  32. 3 points
    This is it, the final showdown with my thoughts. Wait, this is a thinly veiled FFX reference isn't it. HA HA HA HA HA okay this joke is overdone. 46. Synthetic Coral One thing I find quite interesting to play is a field of blocks and water or bombs, and all you have to do is move around, building islands as you go. In particular, Plastic in the Ocean from UC5 directly inspired this- what if instead of having to bridge to the corners, you just had to pick up chips? Ultimately, it's quite easy- no Pentomino Lake without picking up the flippers, that's for sure. Unfortunately, splash delay does seriously hurt the level in Lynx... and I still need to finish CCLP4 in Lynx, right. 47. Blast from the Past Finally, the first level I designed for this set! The only goal I had was to throw back about a decade, with pointless rooms, diagonal walls, and pointless boosting! Unfortunately, the level still ends up being fairly modern in its design, but hey- it's a fun variety level with 12 completely separate rooms with absolutely no interaction between them, nope. Don't even try sending the fireballs and gliders into the bomb room, I definitely didn't plan that to be a useful strategy and it most certainly wasn't forced on an older version of the level. 48. Happy as a Clam I think few levels show my usual design style more than this level. I built the central room first (symmetry, level branching off of one core interesting room) and then the fireball room to the right. The gliders followed (single block+monsters in varied forms, simple collision telegraphed) and the rest of the level followed in the order it gets played. I'm especially happy with the fireball stream trick to get the blue key, and the final tank shuffling puzzle. Unfortunately SOMEONE (Tyler) busted this level and didn't get the full experience... but Shane did because I fixed the level. 49. Confusion Cave My designer note for this level simply reads "Creative One Ways, Part 3?". I'm not sure how accurate that is, but when I tried resolving it well after I'd designed it I was quite confused, so I guess it does what I wanted it to. The highlight here is the fireball room and how it's completely impassible without a block. 50. Opal Shrine For this level, I used the walls of Wall Jumping Up Waterfalls to craft a non-linearly ordered variety level. The very first thing I tried to build in was a very lengthy final block path that would reuse most of the level, but this kept having to be scaled back and nerfed as there were ways around most of it. The initial release didn't require the block path it currently does as I had liked the shortcut, but after Tyler didn't even entertain the possibility of the intended path I took another look at the level and managed to require the oversized loop. In the final form, it's a fun level- I only wish the fireball manipulation was a little more clearly telegraphed in advance, as it's possible to fail right at the end. 51. Despotism Walls from Communism. There are some weird hallway block loops to manipulate a single fireball through most of the level. It's not too interesting to play, but I'm still proud of the fact that I fit a completely different level inside Communism. 52. Outlast Say hello to probably the only original concept in the entire set, because truly original concepts are hard to come by. Original executions, sure those are easy. But concepts? Have you ever seen a room where you had to keep a teeth from leaving a certain range, while also having to leave that range? The left room came first while experimenting with the concept of extending where you could step, and is rigid as a result. The right room followed as a "alright, now you understand it, now apply what you've learned" kind of room. It is possible to extract all 10 blocks, albeit not easily and it's not required in any case. 53. Immersion Circulator Walls from Miika's Hexominoes. While I was skimming through custom sets for interesting arrangements of walls, that level jumped out at me. Sure, it was originally used for a collectathon, but there was some serious potential for reinvention there. Once I stripped the level bare... I had nothing. So I built the outside aesthetic, laid down a few objects to partition the level (most notably the tank guarding two red keys) and just built upwards from there. This is probably the longest level in the set despite only having a 496 time limit. Why 496? Because it's the third perfect number, after 6 and... 28. Naturally, I ensured that's how many chips there were. That sounds like something Miika would do. 54. Navigating Neptune Obligatory blue wall maze with some shortcuts and I made the fireball puzzle first and kept that theming for rooms to open shortcuts. Okay bye. 55. Lebanon So, funny story about skimming through custom sets for interesting walls- Cyprus was a given. I immediately hit on the idea of limiting cloning to make a sardine can and then blockslide multiple blocks off of the same slide... but then actually executing the area took hours and was still broken for quite a while. Eventually though, I had a first puzzle and the tanks always changing (everything up to the fireball+tank room) and had no ideas for the remainder of the level, and it'd been sitting there for a while. Well, I had clone machines in place as partitions, but still. A month or so later Josh and I collabed and I sent him the half finished level. I got back the dodging sections and outer block part a day or so later- not what I would have gone with, but hey- it worked and was pretty fun! Though I noticed a few ways to squeeze out extra blocks from the end and made it required (touching the border is also required!) and telegraphed the gimmick of all blocks having gravel under them early, as it could be seen as unfair without that first block. Then I added my own block manipulation section to reach a hidden hint and called it a level. Time limit is 961 because apparently that's the area code of Lebanon. 56. Monotone I hope you don't dislike invisible walls. 57. Mystery Caves Mission statement: difficult linear campaign level. The first section was meant to have a bit of tangential story to it of a prison, and also set the tone with an "In a Nutshell" style area. In hindsight, it's a little mean to start there and force redoing it every time the teeth+ball room goes awry. I went back and forth on whether that dodging and manipulation was fair, but ultimately decided that it was since you can see what needs doing in advance. That said, the tank button to start the manipulation was the last thing I added to make it a little easier. Then you have a fantastic blockslide puzzle before a really cool ball room and a few assorted puzzles before a fake-out exit. I wonder if anyone will ever die to that walker. Probably not, but the room is lol. 58. Flight of the Prince Entered in the Movie Madness Create, which it won. Inspired entirely by chasing Snape down in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, and the gameplay suits this. You see a green flash and something go off the tower, immobile, and then get to move when it dies, just like the story. Then you have around 20 seconds that demand perfection in Lynx and near perfection in MS, with some pinpoint dodging checkpoints and minor itemswapping. I love how carefully tuned this level is to work in both rulesets, something I couldn't manage with Extreme Hold Right Adventure. I do wonder if the design is too mean, though, as you do need to get a decent amount of boosts to even solve the level in MS. Regrettably, I couldn't keep a section in which the glider would merge into a 3 tile gap of pink balls and clone another, blocking the path for Chip. Why? Slide delay- waiting at the upper force floors would allow the glider to delay, bounce off a ball instead of merging in resulting in its death, and Chip could just walk into the fake exit. I tinkered with a few potential fixes, but ultimately settled on just making the slide delay not matter. 59. The Party We Have Never Seen Soundtrack for this commentary. Fire and water have such a lovely aesthetic that I underuse. Open-ended cloning puzzles are such an interesting design that, again, are underused. Sooooo I made one with a semi-open order. Gotta get to the bug on the right first to open the block cloner, then do the three chip challenges before the two socket challenges that subvert the normal flow. Shane picked up on the main trick pretty quickly, likely because I telegraphed it in advance. He also spotted a solution I didn't catch to the upper area, which I'm not unhappy with. Originally I wanted to force bridging around the bomb, but he found a clever way to use the existing blocks to guide a fireball over- nicely done! I'm not sorry for the random force floors on the exit path- good luck J.B., and at least it's untimed 60. A Chip Down Memory Lane And finally, the walls from Archie's RUN OUT OF GAS in a spiritual sibling to Mental Marvel Monastery. Fully intended alternate solution follows, with the description copied below: Everything seen here is intended- I designed the level to have two solutions, and this one to feel busted. But nope- every little detail that juuuust works out is completely intended! That being said, I did not tune any of the monster order or timings for this route. I'm pleasantly surprised by how little waiting around there is here. The overall design goal was to make a level like Josh's Mental Marvel Monastery- a throwback medley, of sorts. Strengthening the connection, I used the walls from Archie's "RUN OUT OF GAS" as my starting point, as Josh used Andrew R.'s "Producing". I also took care to make each part try to feel like something out of CC1- I'm not sure I succeeded, but that's why there are the (few) random pointless bits and certain other design choices. Levels referenced in some way: Nuts and Bolts, Elementary, Tossed Salad, Oorto Geld, Scavenger Hunt, On the Rocks, Lemmings, Seeing Stars, Chipmine, Bounce City (skipped), Reverse Alley, Block Buster, Now You See It, Short Circuit, Torturechamber, Miss Direction, and Alphabet Soup.
  33. 3 points
    CCLP1 MS #127 (In the Pink): 421 (+159, b+1)
  34. 3 points
    Another bump to this topic... I have now added the CC2 level set section to my site. It is horribly out of date, so I would appreciate any and all help in getting it up to date. http://pillowpc2001.net/levels/index.php?set=2 I eventually plan on correcting the solvability tables...right now they still look like the CC1 table and show/save a column for MS and Lynx. I have a note to ignore this for now and just use the MS column for submitting solvability, but hopefully this will be fixed soon.
  35. 3 points
    CC1 (MS) 089: 402 (+2, b) [Block Buster] 5,977,370 (137 bolds) Some stats... I attempted this a lot a couple years ago, during my initial CC1 push. I had 0 successful green keys (on pace) but managed to get it once after a couple hours and played out the level for a 387. My score stayed there until yesterday. I grinded for about 2 hours and didn't get the green key at all, but through careful analysis of the 402 video, I was able to slowly but surely figure out common mistakes and avoid them. Then I got the green key and immediately messed up the second room. A while later, I'd gotten more green keys, bu no second room successes. Then I got one that was a move behind- died at third room. Then I got one on pace that ran into a wall immediately after the 4D. That was discouraging. What wasn't discouraging was the fact that I was starting to get the green key much more often, so losing attempts past it didn't hurt as much. Then I finally reached the last room on 402 pace... and immediately missed the first block intercept. I played it out and ended up with a 385, which didn't even improve. A few green keys later, I got back... and missed the final half wait. Day 1: Green Keys: 35 Second Rooms: 12 (6, 12, 16, 19, 21, 24, 27, 28, 30, 31, 33, 35) (bolded numbers oofed after 4D) (italics is technically a fail) Third Rooms: 7 (16, 21, 24, 27, 30, 31, 35) Fourth Rooms: 0 After that set of attempts, I wanted to keep going, but my hand was too fatigued to get the DDDUULUR chain at the end at this point, so I stopped for the night. The next morning I tried for another hour, and after 2 consecutive failures to the DULUR to get the second block at the end, I took a pause. I'd been inputting at full speed and thinking I was going too slow. But a quick analysis showed that it was actually DUL (small pause) UR! With that gotcha realized, I had a few other boosting mistakes on the last 2 blocks, but I was consistent enough at getting to the end that it hardly mattered. I even got to the last 2 blocks on two consecutive attempts! Day 2: Green Keys: 17 Second Rooms: 10 (1, 2, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17) Third Rooms: 10 (1, 2, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17) (bolded numbers are 401s that mis-executed the final boosting chain, but were perfect until after the last blockslide) Fourth Rooms: 1 (17) Total green keys to success: 52. Total successful second rooms: 22 (yeah, 30 failures on the half waits and UU[1/2]UU stuff, + 4 5D instead of 4D) Total attempts at the last room: 17.
  36. 3 points
    Hey everyone. Remember me? Maybe, maybe not. My last visit was in 2016. The year 2017 was, honestly, quite a mess. It had its share of good things and bad things, but let's not go into the details. A few months after I left, I found myself missing CC. Josh's email about CCLP4 rather made me want to come back. Looking back on it, I don't know why I didn't. Sure, life WAS busy, but surely I could have just stopped by? Ah well. As my former girlfriend said, "regret is pointless. But the future is something we can change." So I'm back. Real life still IS busy, so I probably won't be as active as I used to. No more LPs. But I DO plan to check out CCLP4, and some custom sets, and keep expanding C1059-CC2. Also, I wish to apologize to some people here. When I logged in today, I realized that I had a few PMs. I THOUGHT I had enabled email notifications, but apparently I didn't, leaving these people without a reply. Also, I wish to apologize for being somewhat of a jerk to Josh, Cyberdog, Michael, Zane, Alice, and other members I'm not thinking about at the moment. I'm sorry. I'll try to improve. Also, Happy New Year everyone
  37. 3 points
    MS scores for Ryan Feenstra CC1 (5938480) 1: 83 2: 90 3: 89 4: 116 5: 85 6: 94 7: 138 8: 96 9: 304 10: 51 11: 190 12: 263 13: 0 14: 188 15: 76 16: 0 17: 83 18: 553 19: 140 20: 340 21: 118 22: 266 23: 199 24: 376 25: 324 26: 243 27: 143 28: 212 29: 281 30: 273 31: 6 32: 324 33: 0 34: 297 35: 530 36: 226 37: 534 38: 435 39: 17 40: 191 41: 149 42: 187 43: 118 44: 116 45: 292 46: 218 47: 182 48: 265 49: 157 50: 299 51: 528 52: 376 53: 478 54: 309 55: 64 56: 144 57: 203 58: 502 59: 368 60: 288 61: 0 62: 282 63: 472 64: 381 65: 290 66: 292 67: 387 68: 367 69: 222 70: 132 71: 314 72: 0 73: 422 74: 350 75: 479 76: 353 77: 481 78: 467 79: 199 80: 630 81: 0 82: 961 83: 287 84: 580 85: 185 86: 381 87: 0 88: 314 89: 313 90: 303 91: 363 92: 423 93: 466 94: 0 95: 335 96: 300 97: 290 98: 325 99: 377 100: 0 101: 222 102: 177 103: 430 104: 184 105: 202 106: 0 107: 246 108: 254 109: 130 110: 230 111: 0 112: 0 113: 440 114: 172 115: 0 116: 603 117: 0 118: 260 119: 191 120: 0 121: 0 122: 255 123: 257 124: 630 125: 0 126: 188 127: 423 128: 300 129: 286 130: 0 131: 14 132: 559 133: 0 134: 0 135: 293 136: 0 137: 377 138: 130 139: 0 140: 230 141: 0 142: 0 143: 0 144: 0 145: 0 146: 525 147: 0 148: 0 149: 950 CCLP2 (5976630) 1: 347 2: 242 3: 103 4: 237 5: 375 6: 163 7: 248 8: 293 9: 197 10: 363 11: 372 12: 311 13: 341 14: 247 15: 233 16: 234 17: 247 18: 202 19: 276 20: 293 21: 234 22: 14 23: 243 24: 294 25: 200 26: 120 27: 265 28: 244 29: 163 30: 239 31: 335 32: 343 33: 71 34: 347 35: 424 36: 423 37: 290 38: 11 39: 221 40: 238 41: 195 42: 205 43: 15 44: 201 45: 126 46: 37 47: 173 48: 115 49: 27 50: 388 51: 371 52: 272 53: 56 54: 281 55: 69 56: 231 57: 236 58: 300 59: 306 60: 553 61: 348 62: 227 63: 91 64: 162 65: 33 66: 225 67: 233 68: 223 69: 230 70: 202 71: 20 72: 153 73: 217 74: 195 75: 98 76: 207 77: 161 78: 278 79: 102 80: 303 81: 282 82: 240 83: 282 84: 349 85: 269 86: 228 87: 11 88: 296 89: 367 90: 172 91: 333 92: 405 93: 350 94: 594 95: 307 96: 157 97: 125 98: 24 99: 248 100: 186 101: 890 102: 347 103: 235 104: 324 105: 145 106: 329 107: 3 108: 334 109: 561 110: 344 111: 360 112: 80 113: 623 114: 59 115: 328 116: 274 117: 435 118: 175 119: 260 120: 301 121: 283 122: 207 123: 616 124: 162 125: 173 126: 152 127: 47 128: 309 129: 593 130: 310 131: 222 132: 196 133: 758 134: 336 135: 363 136: 303 137: 202 138: 324 139: 323 140: 406 141: 383 142: 399 143: 495 144: 465 145: 415 146: 192 147: 207 148: 336 149: 196 CCLP3 (6026890) 1: 189 2: 329 3: 302 4: 234 5: 251 6: 89 7: 148 8: 105 9: 111 10: 77 11: 388 12: 112 13: 97 14: 338 15: 176 16: 251 17: 90 18: 341 19: 174 20: 210 21: 211 22: 108 23: 244 24: 215 25: 99 26: 381 27: 187 28: 392 29: 280 30: 230 31: 206 32: 157 33: 35 34: 845 35: 59 36: 193 37: 132 38: 287 39: 32 40: 218 41: 155 42: 392 43: 314 44: 212 45: 378 46: 247 47: 355 48: 360 49: 297 50: 148 51: 305 52: 246 53: 262 54: 270 55: 211 56: 312 57: 185 58: 238 59: 315 60: 129 61: 253 62: 432 63: 210 64: 302 65: 34 66: 235 67: 167 68: 303 69: 355 70: 371 71: 382 72: 104 73: 222 74: 260 75: 312 76: 465 77: 188 78: 352 79: 280 80: 180 81: 100 82: 376 83: 201 84: 319 85: 491 86: 384 87: 380 88: 776 89: 372 90: 204 91: 199 92: 387 93: 34 94: 264 95: 373 96: 512 97: 445 98: 493 99: 251 100: 219 101: 551 102: 362 103: 294 104: 237 105: 199 106: 203 107: 413 108: 362 109: 296 110: 235 111: 589 112: 217 113: 402 114: 501 115: 536 116: 261 117: 574 118: 351 119: 323 120: 525 121: 52 122: 426 123: 408 124: 410 125: 356 126: 134 127: 250 128: 363 129: 410 130: 237 131: 594 132: 335 133: 742 134: 185 135: 508 136: 360 137: 790 138: 134 139: 500 140: 0 141: 178 142: 326 143: 721 144: 0 145: 701 146: 0 147: 375 148: 318 149: 654 CCLP1 (5874090) #1 (Key Pyramid): 145 #2 (Slip and Slide): 179 #3 (Present Company): 178 #4 (Block Party): 195 #5 (Facades): 198 #6 (When Insects Attack): 182 #7 (Under Pressure): 169 #8 (Switcheroo): 226 #9 (Swept Away): 212 #10 (Graduation): 250 #11 (Basketball): 214 #12 (Leave No Stone Unturned): 218 #13 (The Monster Cages): 248 #14 (Wedges): 151 #15 (Twister): 275 #16 (Tetragons): 191 #17 (Tiny): [983] #18 (Square Dancing): 248 #19 (Feel the Static): 252 #20 (Chip Suey): 335 #21 (Generic Ice Level): 158 #22 (Repair the Maze): 245 #23 (Circles): 216 #24 (Chip's Checkers): 233 #25 (Mind Lock): 136 #26 (Trafalgar Square): 137 #27 (Teleport Depot): 243 #28 (The Last Starfighter): 198 #29 (Sky High or Deep Down): 214 #30 (Button Brigade): 213 #31 (Quincunx): 15 #32 (Nitroglycerin): 202 #33 (Spitting Image): [910] #34 (Just a Bunch of Letters): 275 #35 (Mystery Wall): 308 #36 (Rhombus): 215 #37 (Habitat): 319 #38 (Heat Conductor): 371 #39 (Dig and Dig): 225 #40 (Sea Side): [832] #41 (Descending Ceiling): 154 #42 (Mughfe): 370 #43 (Gears): 202 #44 (Frozen Labyrinth): 259 #45 (Who's the Boss?): 223 #46 (Sapphire Cavern): 255 #47 (Bombs Away): [904] #48 (Sundance): 67 #49 (49 Cell): 237 #50 (The Grass Is Greener on the Other Side): 90 #51 (H2O Below 273 K): 95 #52 (The Bone): 223 #53 (Start at the End): 241 #54 (Mini Pyramid): 54 #55 (The Chambers): 296 #56 (Connect the Chips): [908] #57 (Key Farming): 254 #58 (Corral): 219 #59 (Asterisk): [968] #60 (Guard): 248 #61 (Highways): 307 #62 (Design Swap): 309 #63 (New Block in Town): 166 #64 (Chip Kart 64): 33 #65 (Squared in a Circle): 270 #66 (Klausswergner): 264 #67 (Booster Shots): 216 #68 (Flames and Ashes): [649] #69 (Double Diversion): 222 #70 (Juxtaposition): 156 #71 (Tree): 132 #72 (Breathing Room): 162 #73 (Occupied): 326 #74 (Traveler): 314 #75 (ToggleTank): 138 #76 (Funfair): 108 #77 (Shuttle Run): 7 #78 (Secret Passages): 372 #79 (Elevators): [939] #80 (Flipside): 303 #81 (Colors for Extreme): [820] #82 (Launch ): 82 #83 (Ruined World): [836] #84 (Mining for Gold Keys): 21 #85 (Black Hole): 923 #86 (Starry Night): 273 #87 (Pluto): 368 #88 (Chip Block Galaxy): [571] #89 (Chip Grove City): 159 #90 (Bowling Alleys): 85 #91 (Roundabout): 307 #92 (The Shifting Maze): 490 #93 (Flame War): 190 #94 (Slime Forest): 330 #95 (Courtyard): 142 #96 (Going Underground): 251 #97 (Gate Keeper): 282 #98 (Rat Race): 276 #99 (Deserted Battlefield): [740] #100 (Loose Pocket): 328 #101 (Time Suspension): [610] #102 (Frozen in Time): [936] #103 (Portcullis): [956] #104 (Hotel Chip): 326 #105 (Tunnel Clearance): 123 #106 (Jailbird): 323 #107 (Paramecium Palace): 186 #108 (Exhibit Hall): 265 #109 (Green Clear): 273 #110 (Badlands): [531] #111 (Alternate Universe): [924] #112 (Carousel): 182 #113 (Teleport Trouble): [896] #114 (Comfort Zone): 292 #115 (California): 47 #116 (Communism): 237 #117 (Blobs on a Plane): 126 #118 (Runaway Train): 15 #119 (The Sewers): 253 #120 (Metal Harbor): [637] #121 (Chip Plank Galleon): 209 #122 (Jeepers Creepers): 146 #123 (The Very Hungry Caterpillar): 46 #124 (Utter Clutter): 110 #125 (Blockade): 168 #126 (Peek-a-Boo): 298 #127 (In the Pink): 206 #128 (Elemental Park): 316 #129 (Frogger): 214 #130 (Dynamite): [506] #131 (Easier Than It Looks): 104 #132 (Spumoni): 328 #133 (Steam Cleaner Simulator): 137 #134 ((Ir)reversible): 295 #135 (Culprit): 218 #136 (Whirlpool): [-1023] #137 (Thief Street): 132 #138 (Chip Alone): 380 #139 (Assassin): 208 #140 (Automatic (Caution) Doors): 224 #141 (Flush): 88 #142 (Bummbua Banubauabgv): 351 #143 (Amphibia): [-117] #144 (The Ancient Temple): 135 #145 (Chance Time!): 232 #146 (Cineworld): 345 #147 (Thief, You've Taken All That Was Me): 715 #148 (The Snipers): 281 #149 (Clubhouse): 337 CCLP4 (5894350) #1 (Molecule): 108 #2 (Pixelated Fire): 203 #3 (Fossilized Snow): 149 #4 (Oasis): 198 #5 (Non-Dimensional Layer): 244 #6 (Proving Grounds): 241 #7 (In the Pool): 81 #8 (The Fourth Dimension ): 240 #9 (Pinball): 123 #10 (Stuck in Emerald): 36 #11 (Keyboard Malfunction): 71 #12 (Rivets): 113 #13 (Encased in Carbonite): 158 #14 (Poly-Gone): 239 #15 (Cross Back): 215 #16 (Reservoir Frogs): 195 #17 (The Three Trials): 92 #18 (Inferno Dynamics): 89 #19 (Conservation of Keys): 153 #20 (It's No Skin Off My Teeth): 291 #21 (Glacial Palace): 237 #22 (Bodyguards): 142 #23 (Western Standards of Living): 266 #24 (It's Easy Being Green): 148 #25 (Difficulty Switch): 256 #26 (Shrub): 15 #27 (Suburban Legend): 167 #28 (Zephyr Heights): 279 #29 (Flipper Departments): 212 #30 (Hoodwinked): 27 #31 (Big Boulder Alley): 245 #32 (Blended Brussels Sprouts): 114 #33 (Tool Shed): 179 #34 (Frozen Waffle): 57 #35 (Chasing Chips): 267 #36 (One Who Raids Tombs): 64 #37 (Tropical Hibiscus): 256 #38 (Detonation Station): 7 #39 (In the Walls of Gravel Castle): 262 #40 (Periodic Lasers): 124 #41 (Ghetto Piranha): 121 #42 (Nova Prospect): 172 #43 (Coral Reef): 189 #44 (Blobfield): 364 #45 (Seven-Layer Salad): 113 #46 (Exclusive Or): 183 #47 (Antidisruptive Caves): 139 #48 (Key Insight): 236 #49 (Block Parking): [822] #50 (Secret Underground Society): 128 #51 (Ice in a Blender): 99 #52 (It Suits the Purpose): 6 #53 (Protect Your Fortress): 163 #54 (Split Path): 142 #55 (If I Ran the Zoo): 506 #56 (Fireworks Factory): 73 #57 (Bisection): 293 #58 (Ruinous Plaza): 40 #59 (Blockpick): 119 #60 (Flippant): 36 #61 (Blue Tooth): 308 #62 (Block Unpuzzle): 66 #63 (Pneumatic Diversity Vents): 374 #64 (Excuse Me): 89 #65 (Duplex): 78 #66 (Anaconda): 250 #67 (Nuclear Energy for Dummies): 221 #68 (Cold Fusion Reactor): [751] #69 (Ball in an Awkward Place): 301 #70 (Science Museum): 129 #71 (Puuf): 155 #72 (Sewerway): 283 #73 (Sealed Doors in the Spacecraft): 158 #74 (Technopathic): 203 #75 (Unmitigated Hint Factory Disaster): 70 #76 (Flow State): 148 #77 (Brick Block Facility ): 276 #78 (Aquatic Ruins): 53 #79 (Spring ): 223 #80 (Monster Swapper): 240 #81 (Estranged for a Season): 230 #82 (Puzzle Box): [728] #83 (Frozen Over): 318 #84 (Forsythia): 143 #85 (Nectar Meadow): 341 #86 (Cyprus): 241 #87 (And the Walls Kept Tumbling Down): 252 #88 (Empty Rooms): 224 #89 (Diametric Opposition): 352 #90 (Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy): 242 #91 (How to Retune Your Harp): 331 #92 (Fire Is My Enemy): 366 #93 (Bombs Are a Beautiful Thing): 158 #94 (Ditchdigger): 350 #95 (Ravaged): 415 #96 (Lean Thinking): [730] #97 (Lockdown): 17 #98 (Clay Tunnel): 395 #99 (Ice Cavern): 108 #100 (One Tank's Adventure): 641 #101 (Condo Management): 309 #102 (The Key Issue): 183 #103 (Malachite): 323 #104 (Dual): 155 #105 (Living Things): 377 #106 (Gridlock): 153 #107 (Combinations): [166] #108 (Scatterbrained): 87 #109 (Shemozzle): 7 #110 (Keyrithmetic): [849] #111 (Water Bottle): 108 #112 (Triple Mint Slurpee): 207 #113 (Half of You, Half of Me): 233 #114 (Repugnant Nonsense): 218 #115 (Overlap): [873] #116 (They're Not Called Blocks for Nothing): 209 #117 (Greenian Motion): 140 #118 (Chip Controls): 367 #119 (Strandquist): 391 #120 (Construct-a-Sokoban): 289 #121 (Death and Destruction): 191 #122 (Jigsee): 277 #123 (Life Is Not a Puzzle): 523 #124 (Air Bubble): 17 #125 (Beautiful Struggle): 372 #126 (Bind Mender): 65 #127 (Wrong Exit): 147 #128 (Mindless Self-Indulgence): 348 #129 (Undefined Fantastic Object): 186 #130 (Bam Thwok): 426 #131 (Jigsaw): 294 #132 (Monorail): 343 #133 (Monochrome): 301 #134 (Pushover): 361 #135 (Propaganda): 357 #136 (Seeing Red): 289 #137 (The Longest Track): [771] #138 (Zipper): 331 #139 (Unravel): [879] #140 (Repair the Automatic (Caution) Doors): 543 #141 (World of a Thousand Flames): 576 #142 (Stratagem): 38 #143 (Color Coordination): 504 #144 (Paradigm Shift): 523 #145 (Hacked Save File): 309 #146 (Japanese Game Show): [135] #147 (Gimmick Isle): 604 #148 (Gravity Well): 166 #149 (Mental Marvel Monastery): 404
  38. 3 points
    Onwards to the second quarter! 16. Arctic Antics I've noticed there are a lot of horizontally designed levels compared to the amount of vertically structured levels, which is interesting. Specifically, mazes often seem to have more horizontal paths with vertical connectors compared to vertical hallways with horizontal doors- not counting curvy paths. It's a strange observation to make, and this level was designed in response to that observation. It's "only" a maze with a blue wall/blue lock aesthetic and long vertical ice slides, but some of the blue walls are fake and there are a few extra chips. Just a couple more of those bonuses for the attentive, though of those who've streamed the set (Tyler and Shane), I don't think either of them caught the fake blue walls. Named after the first level of Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex. 17. Retroactive Invocation Most keyswapping levels have you pick up keys, go somewhere with that key, and pick up more keys behind a lock. More advanced keyswapping levels will use the locks as the only gates to progress in a denser environment, such as Three Color Problem (me), Thinner (Cyberdog I think?), or even too many keys (pieguy). This level tried to do something a little different- recessed walls to "break into" the keyswapping area and get some early keys, and a way to save extra keys. Of course, some of those keys end up used in the second half of the level, which gives the monsters circling an extra purpose. Dual purpose design is always pretty cool, and something I've been trying to include more often. 18/19. Tanks / Tanks, But No Tanks Ahhh, yes. One of the few levels where I came up with a title before the contents. I don't make tank levels very often, and J.B.'s Genetic Experimentation seemed like an interesting set of walls for a constrained idea. After I set out to make a tank level, I had the brilliantly terrible idea of copying the level, but removing all of the tanks from it to make a pun. From there, I just built a few distinct challenges for Tanks, and added hidden walls and tweaked areas for No Tanks. There should honestly be more level that build off of/toy with adjacent levels- neither of these are too special on their own, but as a combination I absolutely love how they work. 20. Special Little Snowflake One of the sillier ways I make levels is to just start toying with interesting tessellations and see how they develop. Fossilized Snow and Three Color Problem are two examples of where I've done this in the past, but there are others. Anyway, this level is just a blocksliding challenge with an interesting twist- in MS, a ram is required. This was somewhat controversial, and Shane though it was unfair, so I'll defend this decision a little bit here- this could easily have been relegated to i^e, for instance. I decided to keep this level for three main reasons, but first, watch the Lynx solution if you haven't already. 1. There was no easy way to change the aesthetic/ice placements to make something else interesting, but non-trivial. 2. The solution plays out nearly the same in both rulesets. 3. After the Rainstorm has already canonized the ram. Now, point 3 on its own is fairly weak as it can create an inequality, and that's something I try to avoid. But that combined with point 2 was enough for me to give into point 1 and keep the level in its current form. Hope that makes sense! 21. Deflection Field Another level originally conceived as a time trial that was ran as one- though it turned out to be fairly easy to route. In the first version, the exit was where the suction boots are, but Miika had the idea of adding a runback and I liked it for both optimizing and casual play. Though there are 2 balls on every line, the dirt makes for a lot of safe places and ultimately makes this a very cerebral dodging level, which naturally is the kind I prefer. There's just something fun about alternating bursts of preplanning movements and mad dashes/quick reactions to things that you just don't get with a lot of melee levels. Naturally, Seeing Red is one of my best examples of this design style. 22. The Sound of Silence More than any other level in the set, this is the one that got me designing heavily again. After releasing the update to UC5, I really didn't have any more ideas for levels. Sure, I built the stray level here and there, but it seemed unlikely I'd have a large CC1 release again. After a couple months of downtime, I tried designing some levels meant for time trials, to varying degrees of success. But even that didn't really get anywhere, and roughly 6 months after the UC5 update, I had maybe a dozen levels. For comparison, I've built more than that in the past few weeks! Anyway, CCLP4 construction was ongoing at the time- I think voting had just opened, and I'd spent a lot of time playtesting the submission pool alongside the rest of the staff. And then, Idle Contrast by Eddy came up as a topic of discussion. Was it better or worse than Suspended Animation, which used the concept of trapped monsters springing to life first? Was it too simple? Was Suspended Animation too complex? Why was there no middle ground? Well, I decided to try my hand at designing that concept with the goal of settling the debate. In favor of my own newly design level, of course I started with the ball rooms where you start- I figured the best way to immediately communicate that this used the Suspended Animation concept was to have a visible exit blocked by trapped monsters, in a room that would allow passage if they started moving. From there the level built off naturally, with various challenges, connections and revisits. By far the hardest part was getting the controller/boss glitch to cooperate. If you look at the bottom right, when the tanks switch the pink balls can start moving, alternating directions every move. This conveniently matches the 5 moves between traps for the paramecia on the left side. The bugs were even trickier, and required some careful tuning of locations and sliding tiles, controller by the fireballs on the bottom left. The ice makes sure they alternate facing up and right when the bugs try to move. Finally, the teeth was the hardest of all- I needed 2 teeth, as only one would have it be released in the opposite direction. Even still, I couldn't find a way to make the teeth release in any direction, so I settled for just up/down. I'm really happy with how the flow of this level turned out, and even though it uses an existing concept, I think I changed enough and added my own flavor to it to be an original level. Besides, did the monsters ever... stop moving in the original? 23. What Lies Beneath And now, another level that was used for a time trial! Unlike the other time trial levels in this set, I didn't intend for this to be one. I just built another maze where the walls could be pushed (and had to be in the outside areas) hid 4 chips under blocks that lined up with the pattern (not required, of course) and noticed that it would probably be quite interesting to optimize. Well, it was, and Miika ended up sniping first by 2 seconds This is probably my favorite maze level that I've ever designed. 24. A Glide Amongst the Clouds Late in construction, I realized I didn't have a glider level yet! So I made one. The ending underwent a lot of changes, and I went back and forth on if 2 gliders were fair in that toggle room, but ultimately decided that yes, they were. One was too easy, anyway. Other than the ending, it's just some cloning to disrupt and some simple dodging. Enjoyable enough, but not really standout. 25. To the Dungeons! Recommended viewing: Alright, you back? Great. I'm sure you can see the obvious inspirations, with traps, layout, unreachable objects, and a leap of faith for that blue key. By far my favorite part of this level is the bottom right- the force floors spice up some otherwise simple ball dodging, and the single block manipulation of 2 gliders is . Also, that's going to become a recurring theme here... 26. A Wish Upon a Distant Blob Obligatory blob level but more interesting than the obligatory walker level. The lower left can be a little mean, but with the right strategy it doesn't actually take very much luck to complete. The middle section has a minor bust, but I'm okay with its existence. Overall, this level has some really weird moments and I think it succeeds as a blob level. Time limit is 436, the current bold to Blobnet. 27. Uphill Battle Hi I like hand-built block shuffling puzzles and you can't adapt them with ice or force floors and there's a gotcha/minor shift in style right at the end and I really really like this level. The force floor puzzle in particular, as it's half sardine can, half "how is this even possible" until you use the force floors to your full advantage. Another of my absolute favorites from the set. 28. Demolitions Expert Yet another time trial level- we're running out of those This one was paired with Red, Brown and Red and uses gliders as a counterpoint to the fireball cloner. It can get a little out of hand with routing, but ultimately I think it succeeded as a reasonable optimization challenge. Especially because everybody missed something sizable here. I couldn't figure out a way to clone all the gliders at once, and both Miika and Ruben missed the method of using only 5 red locks instead of all of them! I'm still surprised at this, as I specifically designed that in as a shortcut and I thought it was obvious... anyway, building the layouts was quite difficult to keep them rotationally symmetric and nontrivial, but also hard to cook. 29. Congregate Just a fun little monster dodging collection level with a blob and teeth that can wreak havoc if released early, but screw up fast routes if released late. Have fun J.B.! 30. Dissonance Amid the Storm Title taken from Touhou 14's Stage 4 title. Random force floors look quite nice, and using them as a path for hidden walls I thought was a really neat idea. Mostly, those paths just break up some precise running from monster in varied arrangements. Oh, and there's a joke at the players' expense here with the teeth. Another 15 bits of behind the scenes knowledge tomorrow, probably! Unless I'm too busy with a tournament. Or practicing for said tournament. Or working on CCLP4. Or working on Ape Escape time attacks. Or job hunting. Or relaxing. Or level designing. Or playing FF9. Or working on my backlog. Or coming up with more "or [activity]" phrases to include here...
  39. 3 points
    ...which you might have known if you've been paying attention. I had a good clean break of one year from this game, and now I plan on hanging around for a bit again. It's nice to be back. I see most of you are still here and even some new people have joined the mix. That's great! If our community wants to survive for another decade, we need new blood. Do hang around for a year or two, and maybe a couple of you will stay for longer. And for those that feel they've had a good time but need to move onto other things, do take a minute and say good bye. You'll always be welcome back! Last year I got a new job and moved to another country. It was good to have a break from CC. Things have settled down a bit now, and it's good to not be away anymore. However, I'm going to try to manage my time and efforts better than I have in the past. There are simply so many interesting things to do in the CCverse that I will need some focus to get anything done without having it overwhelm my life. Mainly this means I won't be optimizing the official sets as much as I'd like but will rather try to chat and create content here. It's very likely you'll still see an occasional score report from me, and in particular working together with other people on problematic levels is something I'll gladly be doing. I was going to list some of my goals and plans for the coming year, but now I feel like any such list would be lacking as I haven't yet totally caught up with everything in my mind. I did read my previous blog post and was happy to see I did most of the things I was hoping to do last spring. I would like to post on this blog about once a month if I can find the time. I would like to finish CC2; so far I have played half the levels. Of course I also need to sort out my scores and totals on the official sets, even without any improvements. I'll definitely be running some competitions and judging them, even though those always take up a good chunk of my available time. I haven't decided on what I will do with CCLP4 voting, but at least I'll keep an eye open. (To clarify, I don't know if I will vote on all the levels this time.) Finally, I have a ridiculously long back-log of semi-interesting semi-important projects that I'll try to wade through every once in a while. Thanks for having me back. Let's have a great time again! -Miika
  40. 3 points
    CCLXP2. I recently finished playing through this set and to say the least, it was a different experience than back when I let's played the MS version. Not by much, but different enough to call it out. The CCLXP2 project dates back to as early as late 2011. As we all know, CCLP2 was not crafted with the lynx ruleset in mind, due to the fact people were far more aware of the MS port instead of the original version. Over the years and especially after CCLP3's release, Lynx compatibly became more common of a ruleset, with many more designers crafting levels with both MS and Lynx rulesets in mind, instead of just the former. Because of this, various community members, including myself, took it upon themselves to make CCLP2, Lynx-compatible. For players who prefer the Lynx ruleset over the other to enjoy the first offical level pack (at the time at least). I was once part of this project in its early days, since I am a big fan of CCLP2. But as time went on and going through many hiatus periods, eventually I disbanded from it due to other reasons. Despite the fact it has been released for quite some time now, I finally found myself to take the time to play through it. I was very tempted to LP this, to go along with my old out-of-date MS run back in 2011 but I decided against it. As far as feedback goes, I will leave some for any level I found particularly interesting or more of a challenge. This includes the fixed levels and even some where the gameplay was slightly different but was still Lynx-compatible from the start. Warning, spoilers. (I mean if you never played the original CCLP2 at least?) --Feedback-- 14. The Parallel Port This was the first level in CCLP2 to use invalid tiles. Originally, every collectable item was under a fake blue wall and the path to the exit included an ice corner, which can't be passed through in Lynx. The fix to this was shifting all items to the upper layer and over some to require close to the same amount of time to obtain as it would in MS. While the level itself wasn't really interesting even in the original, I found it enjoyable to finally play it in Lynx. 15. Debug File I always choke myself up whenever I go back to watch Rock's run of this level and dying hilariously. This level went under very little fixes actually. Aside from the monsters not being on top of blocks, the way to collect chips was interesting. This was possibly the best (and only) fix for this and it was much appreciated. Got the bold on my first try too, without trying! 17. Double Trouble The fix to this was simply making it possible to move at the start. Originally, the glider would kill you instantly in Lynx. Not that this mattered because the level was unplayable anyway due to the thin walls being under some fake blue walls and normal walls under chips. I found it a little amusing that the pop-up walls in the fixed version aren't necessary. 19. A Sample of Things to Come I never was a big fan of this level but the fix to it was pretty simple. I like the new mechanism that replaced the original buried pop-up walls under the red locks at the start. 20. Ranger Denmark This level was always silly to me, but this version is very obviously different. Such that the fire was replaced by water and most the monsters were swapped with their counterparts. Still was simple as ever to solve though. 21. Block Away! I hated the original version but this one did it some justice, though not that much. I remember looking at this level upon this project's early days, figuring out what could be done if the wrong red buttons were pressed. That fix was clever, I never thought of it. The fact the blue keys next to the tanks were still there when viewing in the editor was nice to see, though me personally I would have swapped through some keys as to not add some like the lower right did. Finally, the way to exit. Great change. I disliked the original with traps under locks. Even though I didn't trapped in this run, had I done so I wouldn't have minded as much. 22. How Goes? Pretty good. (see what I did there?) I remember this change being brought up and it is indeed a great one. Does not affect MS's solution at all, which was part of the goal whenever possible. 26. Work Fast Surprisingly, I had a hard time at this one. I was so used to the way monsters moved in MS that it's completely different in Lynx. The glider section below was also a challenge to go through since splash delay is a thing. Overall, I enjoyed it but I probably won't replay it ever. 28. Madness I (LX) So this was the first level that had to undergo a big change. While it's appearance is quite similar compared to viewing the original, the gameplay is slightly different. Blocks moving against each other while on traps is actually a pretty clever concept and I liked it. I did get killed by the first attempt though, since I didn't pay attention to the display message before. 31. Well of Wishes While this level was already compatible with Lynx to begin with, I felt the gameplay was different enough to review it - notably, the glider part at the start. For the longest time, I kept thinking it was possible to go through it the same way in MS but I don't believe it is. Until I realized the flippers can be used to collect those chips. Even though it's possible to do that in MS as well, I never noticed that and I really liked that it was used here. 47. Tele-Rooms I really found it fun that I was able to obtain all the first chips in the east fireball room without stopping. A lot of levels in this ruleset do this and I found it nice. The only other difference I found cool was the blobs on ice. The timing to get past them a few times was a good challenge. 48. And Then There Were... Four? Of course those fire boots are still in the third column. I liked this fix, I remember it being brought up and it was well-received. Though, I don't think all the other red buttons needed to be there. 59. Lot of Danger The beginning was much more difficult, since you have no control over the random force floors. I honestly really dislked the paramecium part after this. I felt it could have had more wiggle room and less of a chance of dying by it. Other than that, this level was pretty good. 68. Madness II (LX) I just realized both Madness levels changed in this set. Anyway, the only changes were the hidden items and the force floors underwater right at the beginning. Mostly everything else is the same. It was a good level to play again. 70. Killer Spiral One of the few levels that I actually suggested the fix for (The other being Frost Swirl)! And a different style gameplay, since I couldn't rely on boosting like I could in the original. 82. The Block Stops Here (LX) The bomb section at the bottom was a well done fix. It was appreciated that I could actually kill off some of the gliders, if I really needed to. 85. Follow the Glacier Brick Road It was sad to see the original level's concept go but there was no way to replicate it for Lynx. So arguably this one was a lot, lot easier to solve. 87. The Walker Machine (LX) An actual level that requires you to erase blue keys? This may be my favorite level in this Lynx version. It was just a ton of fun to play and has so much replay value. I loved it, well done to whoever's idea this was! 92. Abandoned Mines The blob section was a lot more challenging here, since blobs act weird in Lynx. The force floors at the end gave me a headache. That's mostly the animations fault but still it was a pain collecting the chips there. Was still fun to play again regardless. 93. Exit Chip Okay. This level wasn't nearly as evil as the original. I actually kind of liked it? That's kind of hard to say though! Thankfully I didn't die by any ball on that ice slide, though I did almost get killed by the block containing suction boots in the NE. 94. Checkerboard II (LX) A good fix to the level but I didn't enjoy playing it. I found it easier to mess up guiding blocks in this version. I might have been impatient though. 96. Glider and Fire I remember there being debate on whether this level should stay or be replaced by a mirrored version that I made back when this project was first starting out. I'm honestly a little disappointed the mirrored version didn't get used here, it would have been much easier in my opinion. Anyway I had to watch Miika's lynx solution to this level to solve this. I especially hated the ending that requires nearly perfect timing to exit or you'd get killed by a glider, which is completely out of your control. I wish some were removed at least but oh well. In general I can't say I liked it, but it was definitely a challenging level. 99. One-Block Sokoban Lol I accidentally erased the blue key on the first attempt. Backtracking to get the green key before pushing the block was not fun. It couldn't be helped though. What could have been helped though was the teleport/splash delay cook at the very very end. That wasn't very nice, Lynx. 105. Yet Another Puzzle (LX) Still remained just as fun as the original, despite the change. It was a little harder to outrace the glider before getting stuck. 107. Joyride I I recommended a time limit increment for this level but unfortunately it didn't receive one. So the bold time is 2, which I find funny. 108. Tricks Block slapping made this level a lot easier. 112. After the Rainstorm (LX) Even though its not required here, I love the fact the force floor remains in that once called "Ram" section. Nice touch. 113. Oorto Geld II This is the true definition of a lame sequel. And the walkers didn't do it any better. Did not enjoy this one. 119. Teeth I never did play the version that required odd step but this was a good level. I appreciate the teeth in NE no longer releases out of it's trap. 120. Frost Rings (LX) Even though it's concept couldn't be retained, it was still enjoyable. Nothing beats the original though 123. BlockSlide No changes but because slide delay does not exist in Lynx, this level played sooooo much smoother. Loved it. 130. Frozen Birdbath (LX) I raged on this level in my MS run. I despised the original so much, it's my top least favorite CC level. BUT. This version did it so much justice. I loved it. Considering to replace my #1 least favorite level now. 131. Time Bomb (LX) I'm surprised this was mirrored and Glider and Fire wasn't. But it makes sense with this level, since the original had fire all over the place. The level was great. I don't know if it's the same gameplay just mirrored but it seemed harder to me. Great fix (or replacement I guess?). 132. Captured (LX) This one wasn't as annoying as the original. Quicker to solve as well! 136. Switch Hit I'm surprised the AVI for this level claims this to be unsolvable in Lynx. It was definitely more interesting here though, it had me stomped on how to exit since the way to in MS couldn't be done. 139. Frostbite (LX) I found this to be a little more timing based. Enjoyable to play though was never much of a fan of the original. 140. Keep Trying Moving with random force floors everywhere was more difficult than it should have been. But still fun to play! 143. Trapped The fact there still resides a bust here makes this level better. Didn't catch it until I completed it the first time, so I went back and executed that bust. 145. Gauntlet I don't know if it's possible to collect all 15 chips in the teeth corridor, but I didn't chance it. Thankfully the 2 at the end were useful for something! The walker clone machines also acted out with me and caused me to die several times. 146. Run-a-Muck Hated the original. Hated this version even more. I especially hated that a fireball in the west room goes in the ball/chip room which only made it unnecessarily harder. Sorry. 147. Cloner's Maze Just because gliders don't die in fire here, I went all out with the cloner and spammed it for a good 30 in-game seconds. Don't do that, it ain't a good idea. Anyway I had to watch chipster1059's video of solving this in Lynx because I was at a complete loss on some parts. While I'm pretty sure it's possible otherwise, I relied on collisions to collect the yellow key and one of the chips. I hated one collision but loved the other. Thanks chipster for the video assistance! 148. Neptune Liked the fact the traps made getting blocks in those spots for gliders to destroy the bombs much easier. I didn't enjoy this level that much unfortunately. --Final Review-- Overall, playing this was very interesting and most, if not all, the fixes were excellent. Thank you to those who worked hard on completing this project and I apologize for disbanding in the middle of it. You did CCLP2 some justice with this. I highly recommend playing this, even if you weren't a fan of the original. Rating: 8/10
  41. 3 points
    So I've got this problem called Life (capital L) which continually manages to get in the way of my CC2 time. Wife, daughter, work, home improvement, photography, reading, artwork, etc. I keep meaning to contribute to the community but lately I'm realizing that it will never happen if I don't figure something out. So, this week I've been trying something new. Every day, no matter how busy, I'm trying to spend 10 minutes playing through someone else's levels and 10 minutes designing my own. (I'm using the extremely useful app Habitica lately, and these are marked as daily tasks. Since I've come to terms with the fact that I'm unlikely to ever have the discipline to LP anything, I think the next best thing is to share short blog reviews every time I beat a level. It's something at least! Today's level is (drumroll)... GLASSACRE by Josh Lee, from Flareon1 v1.7.1. Chips: 72, Time: 750 (SPOILERS, obviously) Concept (3/5): It's a pretty basic idea, a 32x32 maze where the walls are all ice blocks sandwiched between thin walls. There are numerous short ice slides as well, many of which have bombs that need to be cleared. Gameplay consists of pushing blocks into bombs to collect chips, and is about as fundamental as it gets. The yellow and red keys open up rooms to a few more chips but they are trivial. And then there's the glass eye right at the beginning which, unless I'm missing something, does nothing at all, except to reveal that there are force floors under all the ice blocks. Puzzle Difficulty (2/5): It's a casual play experience. The sokobans are easy but not trivial; my first time through I cooked the level by using a block on the wrong bomb, but overall it's pretty obvious which blocks go where. I particularly like the upper and lower rows of 6 bombs each, and for thematic continuity I could wish to see the yellow key placed at the end of the upper row to match the red key at the bottom. Action Difficulty (1/5): There's plenty of time and no reason to rush. That's not to say I didn't totally and stupidly run into a bomb on my 2nd attempt. Fun (4/5): I really enjoyed the level. It was fun and methodical without requiring a lot of focus. I liked the look of the ice blocks/thin walls. The ice slides through and between rooms really add interest to the maze. And I've always liked pushing blocks into bombs. I was a little disappointed by the secret eye. When I saw all the force floors under the blocks I was expecting some sort of grand finale or bonus area, especially with the missing thin wall at (18, 6). I also felt like the keys didn't add much to the level. But overall, I enjoyed it. Thanks to Josh for the experience. Finally, here is a zero-commentary, completely unoptimized of my solution. Please let me know any comments, recommendations, or thoughts on how to make these short level reviews useful and informative!
  42. 3 points
    Now You See It: J.B. said this would would be really hellish in Lynx, so after making a notated map I attempted it there first. Took 3 tries, then 1 to match the 906 in MS. The map I used replaced all wall/floor equivalents with wall and floor tiles, then marked the path to the exit with dirt. Paths to chips had gravel, dead ends were marked with a single trap at the entrance. I also had recessed walls for the fork to take second, but these were obsoleted by the dirt/gravel notation. Skipped ahead to Perfect Match at this point because the solution I had was 964 and I was missing something. That something turned out to be the additional clone and kill to block the fireball stream earlier. I scored 968 on the 2nd attempt. In Lynx, it only transfers as a 965...but the trick to 966 is really neat and feels good to execute. Paranoia: At first, I thought the boosting was 4 ice tiles, so I could drop 1 boost and just spring slide to not waste any time. Unfortunately, it was actually 5-but fortunately, I could do it every time! I forgot to wait at the paramecia once, but beyond that this was a fairly easy bold to score. Catacombs: 1/455 shot. I've had worse. (on later calculation & anecdotal evidence, it's more like 1/655.) 3 minutes later, I had 379.8. Reason for the lost move? Being sent left at the first RFF and overriding right. Ah well, going in 379 was what I was going to go for, due to having to head off to class soon anyway. But with how quickly and painlessly that came, I knew in the hour between classes, this would be the goal. Unfortunately the luck was not on my side, though I did reach the final RFF 3 times. Amusingly the second RFF moved the block where Chip was supposed to go and Chip where the block was supposed to go 6 times in a row! After arriving at home, I spent another hour and a half on it-still without success. A couple days later I spent a half hour working on it again, got nowhere, hopped in a call with Zorasknight, got it 17 minutes later. Pretty convincing anecdotal evidence towards RNG-based CC levels playing nice while I'm in a call with an Ape Escape speedrunner. Unfortunately LUNiT had to go kill this plan to score luck based bolds before it could begin... Colony: It took me more time to note down room directions than to score. For completions' sake, here are the notes I used (an * denotes skipping the chip in the room). DLUL* DULLL DLUL DDDR* DULUR RRURD RRRLD DLD* RLURR DDL* DRLU LDUL* DU* L* UDRUUL LDDDR LD FINISH I used FINISH because at that point, the remainder of the path is obvious. Apartment: Watched the route once, wrote down directions as above, scored it in one try. Icehouse: See above, but without notes and 2 tries to execute. The first attempt forgot to take the ice path to the red lock area. Memory: I expected this one to take a few tries, but like Colony, encoding the route correctly resulted in a quick execution of the route: actually first try! LU U*R D LLL U*LD D*R R LL*UUR*L L D*D*ULD L RURD*ULL*R U L U*R U*L U*R L*DR*DL*DRDL*RR*URRU*D*R U U*DR*R U L RU*U LL R*RU*L L RR*DL*RD*DDL*LU*DDL*UU UR LU D*DL D*L*U RU U*U R LD*DDLU*U*L D L RUL Every directional input was which direction I needed to leave the room from. An * meant hitting the button in the room was required. Every space was used as a separator for chips, allowing me to remember when I was supposed to pick certain chips up. I still messed up and grabbed a chip early, but played the rest perfectly and still got the 488. Jailer: I had to wait in the northwest for 2 moves, which fortunately is allowed by the route. Aside from forgetting where to go after the 2 chips on the right wall once, this was an easy route. Short Circuit: I expected this to be an easy first try bold, but my first attempt came up 1 second short. My second attempt turned the wrong way with 7 chips left, and my third got it despite seeming the same as my first. Kablam: This one proved rather boring. Thankfully, I got it first try. Balls O Fire: Took 2 tries. I forgot what to do on the first and got 258. Block Out: I repeatedly messed up the ball section at the bottom, mostly because I watched the AVI once and went "alright I know how to do this, let me do it real quick before homework". 10 minutes later, I had bold but was in no mood for homework, so I pressed on to... Torturechamber: ...a dumb idea. My very first attempt forgot to wait at the last chip, and then I could not do the boosting right. After another 5 minutes, in which I died at the last chip another 3 or 4 times, I finally remembered to wait...and then waited too long. Thankfully, the next attempt got the 133. Blah blah blah CCLP1 public routes blah blah blah Cineworld sucks blah blah blah public half of CCLP3 for 76 bolds & 6,000,000 points blah blah blah tried Block Buster a bit and the first 2 seconds didn't work repeatedly because half waits. Specifically, my down input is ignored half the time and the other half the time my second right input was ignored. Have I mentioned I hate half waits? I'll try this again after other routes with them. I took a 387 with "fast" green key, though I messed up and cloned extra blocks. Chiller: A route that was both surprisingly difficult and surprisingly simple. At first, I had trouble remembering what to do, but after following the top row block once (and playing the rest out to be 274) I had very little difficulty remembering what to do. Time Lapse: Boosted wrong, [963]. Open Question: I've gotten better at dodging levels. Specifically, playing my own level "Amorphous" (currently unreleased, but will probably be in a demo of sorts for UC5, yes, that exists, fairly soon). Said level has lots of pink ball dodging in similar patterns to this level, and block pushing through it. I watched the public TWS route for the general route between chips, and scored 462 in one attempt following. Deception: Watched once, played once, made a mistake, still got bold. This keeps happening now: I've noticed I have a lot less difficulty remembering longer or more involved routes than I did when I started out. I had trouble remembering the sequence of actions for Iceberg before, but now I can remember the entirety of things like Paranoia easily, and for routes like Colony and Memory I can encode the route in such a way so that I can reference while playing and easily score bold. Oversea Delivery: hahahahahahahahaha later. Even after that spiel this route is still a little too involved and a little too execution heavy for the moment. It does allow 2 mistakes, but remembering the route and then having to execute...I'll definitely be back later. Block Buster II: Oh, you again. I don't like you. I was able to get the first half down pretty quickly and reliably, but, again, the half waits refused to cooperate. After a dozen successful first halves, I finally got the 1st 2 half waits...and realized I didn't know what to do after that. An hour or so later, I was getting the first half 25% of the time, and the first half wait about half the time. However, I still couldn't get the slide delay shenanigans right, with my best attempt moving up after 'button 6' instead of half wait DL. My hand had slowed down at this point and I could no longer get the boosting in the first half, so I took a break and moved on. The Marsh: It took me a couple tries to remember the block pushing at the end, but it was easy. Miss Direction: First try, bad boosting at the end . On checking my Partial Post decimal with the command line -t, I found out that this was a -.9. Slide Step: With my hand still not fully back up to speed, I knew this would pose an interesting challenge. I watched the route in the public TWS, and scored 208 on the first attempt. That wasn't too bad, 210 should be easy, right? A couple restarts later, 209 with mistakes in the bugs. A few tries later, I oofed twice after the bugs, but played the lower half perfectly to score 210. Alphabet Soup got a skip for now: untimed, non-public bold. I'll look for it eventually. Totally Fair: Took a few tries to manipulate the tooth monster correctly, but it was a simple enough level. The Prisoner: It took me the longest time to direct the fireball into the bomb, and then I kept mis-ordering the rest of the 'prison'. When I finally escaped, I forget to take the ice slides as a shortcut, scored 271, but scored 272 immediately after. Fun fact: at this point I was missing more untimed CC1 bolds than timed CC1 bolds! Tried Block Buster II a bit more. Decided to do an easier route if I dropped any boosts in the beginning. Ended up with 693. Another hour of attempting later, I forgot to wait before following the final block and ended up with a 713. Since it was now 2 AM, I let the time sit there for the night. Firetrap: I watched the route once, thought I had it down but when I went to score it, I kept making small mistakes. Forgetting to get the red key, forgetting to get the blue key, forgetting there's a wait before pushing the block onto the fire, forgetting to wait for the tank before the fireboots, forgetting where to go after the ice corner hit after the fireboots...after about 15 minutes I had the 667, though, without having to reference the route again. Block N Roll: SKIP SKIPSKIPSKIPSKIPSKIPSKIP NO WALKERS RIGHT NOW, NO THANK YOU All Full: As a kid this was one of my favorite levels. Scored bold on the 2nd attempt, because the first took the ice slide and cloned a bug. Ice Cube: 2 attempts, going off the directions on the wiki. The first misinterpreted (2R) to be right, right, backtrack instead of right, right, left, left. I clarified the notation and scored 933 on the 2nd try. Totally Unfair: Made the mistake of setting odd step first attempt, bold on the second. Common theme, that is. Recommended listening music for the remainder of this post: . This is what I was listening to during everything from Mix Up onwards. Mix Up: I expected this to be a torturous endeavour, and I was not mistaken. However, I expected the reason to be remembering the 5+ minute sokoban route, not execution mistakes outside of the boosting! My first few attempts at the level were with heavy pausing, alternating between gameplay and the public TWS every block. In the bomb room, though, there would be stretches of gameplay only 7 moves long-that room was complicated! The farthest one of these pause attempts went was 717 seconds remaining: the tooth dodging. I accidentally ran into a wall after the sideswipe, then input down left...but the down was post oof so the left input went after, stepping onto the tooth. I wasn't pleased, but get trying. At this point, I found I knew most of the route by memory, and get forgetting minor details in the bomb room. Eventually, I executed correctly to the tooth room again, with 3 or 4 pauses to catch my place in the route, and dodged the tooth monster right! After taking the chip, I paused again and checked the TWS to make sure I wouldn't lose this attempt. The boosting went perfectly...and then I spaced out and didn't move for 2 moves in the bug room. 682.8, I pulled a Spiral (Andrew Bennett's Spiral route in the CCLP3 public TWS was a 395.8, with a move lost after picking up the final chip). I was actually somewhat angry, now, but kept going, determined to pull off a 683 without pausing. 2 attempts at the bomb room later, I messed up the boosting at the end and lost 1 move but that was still good enough to score 683. I can safely say that's one of the most difficult bolds I've ever scored, as the next longest route I've executed correctly is (I believe) Metal Harbor Lynx, at 208 seconds, though Seeing Stars at 203 MS seconds is longer. This comes in at 316 seconds: the longest timed route in CC1! Blobdance, Pain, Doublemaze: hahahahanope, hahahahahahahafinemaybelater, hahahahahahahahahahahahahanotachanceidon'tevenhaveH2Oyet. Goldkey: Forgot to tap up 3 times at the end of the force floor area, forgot where to go after the northwest, 392. That's one forgiving route. Partial Post: After attempting to remember after a single watch, and failing horribly, I fell back on the old standby: notes. Teleport x5 Feed 3 blocks in up Adjacent block in, swing around DOWN UDUD Loop around, stagger 3, swing around UP DUD Next in, swing around UP DUD Straight shot, swing around DOWN UD Clear the bottom, swing around UP DU Closest in, swing around D U Closest in, swing around D U Stagger 2, left and feed down, feed left Bottom block left 3, middle left 3, bottom down 1, topleft left all the way Set up post, feed 2 down and slide 3 in front Swing around to the left, then the top Partial Post 2, then D(LU)R The first attempt with notes scored 237. Many, many attempts of ignored inputs later, I had what I thought was perfect, but it turned out to be a 239.6, 2 moves lost. A few attempts later, I realized I had lost a spring slide on the DUD® stretch and another on a R(DL)U(UU). It didn't take too much longer after that to score the bold. Yorkhouse: New day, new attitude towards random elements. How bad could it be? Well, I made some dumb execution mistakes but still scored a 919 on the 3rd attempt. When going for 920, though, everything seemed to go wrong. The first 2 walkers seemed to strike 50% of the time apiece, but surviving them would guarantee passage to the right side of the level. The next 2 walkers were murderous, though, and I died many times with 143 chips remaining. Finally, I survived that walker...except the final caged walker killed me. I even had a cool reactionary route change to avoid a walker pileup, too... The next attempt died at 86 chips remaining. Next 2 long attempts died at 207 and 293, both from ridiculous collisions and forced chip takes. Then 198 releasing the right corridor walker...you get the idea. Lots of dumb unavoidable deaths. Finally, I was able to survive releasing the final walker and wasn't killed cleaning up the last chips. That was rather annoying. Icedeath: Woohoo, boosting! Another level where I looked at the route on the wiki and executed. My first attempt clocked in at 262, and my second attempt at 262.8. This was surprisingly easy, as not 5 minutes later I had 263.2. Underground: Notated the route onto a map of the level, took a while to score because I kept making small mistakes. Stripes?: Made an altered map of the level with gravel and keys, scored 856 on the first attempt. 858 followed immediately after. Fireflies: Noted down the chip orders and when to wait on an image of the map, scored bold in 2 attempts. The first forgot the 2nd wait in the southeast. Cake Walk: Some other day I'll execute the "proper" route. Right now, I just played the level once to remove my initial time, scoring a completely improvised 681. I even made the mistake of going for the yellow key before picking up the green key! Force Field, Mind Block: Some other time. Special: Overboosted once to score 954, 955 next attempt. At this point, I went back for Block N Roll and scored 432 in one attempt. The walkers played really nasty and I had to wait a lot, so I went for another attempt. That died on 436-437 pace at the last walker. And another, that got 431. Then I got 434 (stalled a bunch approaching the top...). The 4th completion was my initial goal of 437, and I'm more than satisfied with that for now. This reminds me too much of Time Suspension, but with more walkers involved. A few days after the original posting I played Cake Walk again and scored 700. And that's it for the initial pass through CC1, aside from some untimed levels near the end. Here's the current score/bold/seconds to gain breakdown. CC1 MS score: 5,977,020 (131 bolds), 10th place Missing seconds: Blobnet: 413 (-23) Spooks: 547 (-1) Block Buster: 387 (-15) Block Buster II: 713 (-1) Block N Roll: 437 (-6) Skelzie: 453 (-1) Cake Walk: 700 (-17) I'm planning on picking up a 430 on Blobnet, 400+ on Block Buster if not the 402 outright, 714 on Block Buster II, 439+ on Block N Roll, 454 on Skelzie when I have access to MSCC (eventually), and a 710+ on Cake Walk. Once these are completed in the least optimistic scenario, my score would be 5,977,460, which would be enough for 5th place currently, 1 second ahead of James. Missing untimed bolds, entirely from lack of trying: On the Rocks, Rink, Writers Block, Cityblock, Oversea Delivery, Alphabet Soup, Blobdance, Pain, Doublemaze, Force Field, Mind Block. Of these I will probably be scoring On the Rocks, Rink, Oversea Delivery, Alphabet Soup, Force Field and Mind Block. Writer's Block and Pain, being public, I may go for eventually. Cityblock, Blobdance and Doublemaze are on the HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHANOTLIKELY pile. Perhaps in a few years. Well, I suppose next on the list is CCLP2 since there's a lot of public routes I haven't attempted there. After that, finishing up CCLP1 (gotta get that 6,005,xx0!), and then I can turn my attention towards CCLP3 and beyond! Oh and Lynx. There's a lot left to do, but rising to 10th on the CC1 MS scoreboards from having never finished the set in a little over a year? That's been fun. - Jeffrey/IHNN
  43. 3 points
    What? Retrospective? But the set hasn't even been out 2 weeks! Well, I think it's worth putting down my initial thoughts on the set, partly due to the way I experienced it. Some of you may know that I played through the entire set in one sitting, in a blind race.[1] I had not played any of the levels in the voting packs (though I had played through some of the levels from their original set, though I only remembered about 4 in any detail, and certainly not enough to remember the exact solution), and so it was a fresh experience, a new set to play through. I expected to have a bit of difficulty with some of the levels, but for the most part blast through and have a blast playing. I could have been a bit more accurate with that assessment. For the most part, I did speed through the levels, figuring out the trick to levels such as Loose Pocket (#100) in around a minute (my solve time was a 315 with a 326 reset after exploring past the pink ball, totaling 59 seconds playing the level) while taking forever on Deserted Battlefield (#99) and some other levels. And yet, as I've gone back and optimized, these levels are about the same length. I did struggle to solve some of the puzzles, especially in the 130s and 140s, though I think the easier levels are perfectly placed between the harder ones. I do still have to complain about Clubhouse (#149) as I don't think it's particularly engaging, being a simple Sokoban level with nothing really memorable about it other than the crude cooks possible in the starting room. I don't think it's a bad level, or a bad level for CCLP1 even (I just wish there was a bit more fire in the first room to remove the possibility of cooking the level by moving the block to the top left), but I don't think it was suitable for a level 149. On the whole, the final part of my expectation going in was met: I had a lot of fun playing the set, and the people I raced generally agreed, though none of them had time to finish the race, they have gone on to complete the set. I even got someone who'd never played the game to join, and they got quite stuck on #37 (Habitat) for over a half an hour before finally breaking through. For comparison, I had solved level 25 by the 28 minute mark-certainly a slow pace if I was executing all the bold routes, but for blind, that was fast! (Hornlitz was around for the first couple hours before having to leave, and was playing alongside-I was keeping pace with him and even passed at one point). Overall, this shows CCLP1 is definitely a good CC1 stand-in; I had more fun playing through this set than CC1 (in Lynx), both of which I did in the past couple weeks. The race shows it's good for beginners as well, and it proves to have a few challenges for experts. Still, it has a few shortcomings for me... The first and most glaring to me may come as a bit of a surprise, but I feel like the lesson levels are too long and involved on the whole. I'm going to take just the first level from each set here, as it shows my point the best I feel. It's a sense of scale that the rest of CCLP1 does better, I feel. These levels both teach you the exact same mechanics and Lesson 1 did it near perfectly, showing almost everything you need from the first window. As the introduction to the set, no, the game as a whole it's not very overwhelming, in fact, it's quite welcoming. Key Pyramid might as well be pieguy's "too many keys?" compared to Lesson 1. You can't see the exit from the starting point, and though the order of unlocking doesn't matter like Lesson 1 there's a lot more running around. In fact, Key Pyramid takes 32 seconds to Lesson 1's 17, with only one additional key/lock pair. As an intro, it's much more overwhelming. I feel like the lessons could have been more compact and gotten the same point across, but that's coming from someone who solved them all in 5 minutes. This sense of scale is gotten absolutely correct, however, by Present Company (#3). Even Block Party (#4), despite being a 43 second bold compared to Lesson 2's 10 second time, nails the sense of scale. Every room is different and shows something new about blocks, and you're constantly doing something instead of running from small room to small room. Key Pyramid is a small complaint, and since it's my biggest that speaks very well for the set as a whole. Graduation (#10) vs. Nuts and Bolts is another no brainer-Graduation is the better level for the recap. The red herring exit still shows a new concept, similar to what I believe Nuts and Bolts tried for in the end with the fireball and trap room (monster guiding-or at least that's always what I did as a kid). Graduation nails everything you could want as a first campaign level-no difficult parts, room to explore, and yet a clear progression and goal in mind. As I played through, I had a few levels that I really really liked, easily becoming some of my favorite CC levels. In the order they appear in the set... Tiny (#17): A perfect example of how to teach a concept without explicitly stating what needs to be done. Moving 2U to the fireboots immediately cooks the level, but due to the small size this is an "ohhhhh, so that's what I do" moment. Similar to Lesson 7 from the original CC, it teaches "when in doubt, don't get a boot", though in a more up front manner-Lesson 7 is so stealthy about it I didn't even notice until recently, while this does it perfectly. Also, this took longer for you to read than the level takes to solve! Generic Ice Level (#21): This is anything but generic. I've never seen another ice level give you skates immediately (Dodge! doesn't count!), the blocks sliding feel natural and everything about this level just screams win, aesthetically and gameplay-wise. Easily in my top 10, if not top 5. Repair the Maze (#22): One of the few I remembered from before CCLP1, I love the concept of having a maze being able to breaking through parts-in CC1, Strange Maze was one of my favorites as a kid. Like the bold route, I would always end with the sockets, though unlike the bold route I would go through and dispose of every single socket in the level before walking to the exit! Now, if this had 3 color keys and 2 of each... The Last Starfighter (#28): Perfect use of blob cloners, blowing up the walkers with no randomness is cathartic, the aesthetic is beautiful and the level is pretty fun too. Spitting Image and Alternate Universe (#33 and #111): These are just such a cool concept of taking one room as an exact forecast of what's in another room. For the most part, I hate hot blocks. These 2 levels use them perfectly with no treachery involved. Sundance (#48): It looks like a difficult dodging level, but it's simpler than meets the eye. Perfect appearance as well, I only wish it were a bit longer, though I suppose that would ruin some of the appeal. Juxtaposition (#70): I was wondering why there hadn't been any blue wall mazes up to this point, as CC1 had Mishmesh and Chipmine by this point in the game. Then this level came up and I couldn't get enough of it. Thin walls don't see enough use, and fake wall mazes are incredibly difficulty to design without being predictable or overly tedious. This level uses all of them flawlessly. Another top 10 for sure. Colors for Extreme (#81): The opening room is amazingly designed to manipulate the glider in a progression, the level is another itemswapper but it feels like such an epic campaign level. It's also relatively simple, though certainly not easy. A perfect fit for the middle of CCLP1. Loose Pocket (#100): Though I figured out the trick fairly quickly, it's a perfectly executed twist on the Trust Me style level. Most of the red herrings are obviously so, but that only makes some of them look more realistic. It's short, simple, and arbitrary in its design in places. Frozen in Time (#102): Chip's Challenge is not an eerie game. It's not a spooky game. It doesn't have an environment. It doesn't have anything that creeps the player out. This...this manages to do all of the above. It's incredibly simple, and yet it's perfect. I remarked in the call when I got to this level that it was spooky, and wasn't exactly believed. Well, someone else got to this level around the time I was in the 140 range and immediately gave a cry of shock at the teeth, and then agreed that yes, it was spooky. Beautifully done, and not what I was expecting at all. Not needing the chips is a nice touch, too-now I wonder what the level would play like if everything were to be unfrozen... Tunnel Clearence (#105): Amazing concept, amazing design, almost goes on too long but in the end it's just the right length. The ability to ignore the red key at the start and explore makes this level just that little bit better. Exhibit Hall (#108): A level I'd seen a variant of but never played. Said variant being the background for J.B.'s commentary on Chuck's Challenge 3D, which I had watched less than a week before CCLP1! (by the way, I agree with pretty much everything you said-if I wasn't optimizing the game, it'd have been over and done with very quickly, though the editor has a lot of nice possibilities) The avoidance level is a rarely seen concept, due to its difficulty to pull off well. This does it with 8 4x4 rooms, some with puzzles, some with dodging, some with simply items to collect. The ability to skip the fireboots by taking a block from the water room doesn't hurt either. Incredibly fun level. Runaway Train (#118): This level has such an amazing aesthetic to it, and the design, through cramped, still feels exploitative. The teleports to switch cars and give the illusion of a longer level space than actually exist is pure brilliance as well-I caught it immediately, but I've been playing this game for years. A newer player would probably wonder how the designer made a level bigger than the grid, if they even thought about it. Oh, and the level is fun too. Automatic (Caution) Doors (#140): Another level with lots of branching paths, lots of exploration, lots of ways to go-and yet, it's linear. The concept is unique (I've never seen it done before) and beautifully executed in how each step grants you access to another area. The chips are only the first step in this epic level. Easy top 5 level right now, and it will probably remain in the top 10 regardless of what CCLP2 and 3 hold for me. Of course, there were a few I did not enjoy that much-in the same order... Quincunx (#31): Too easy to die, not very interesting either. If it was smaller (say, lop off the bottom 2 rows) it might be better, but it's one of only 3 levels in the set I would rate as Just a Bunch of Letters (#34): The cypher level of the set, but it's very dull. The original Cypher was cryptic yet obvious in hindsight, Cypher II was brutally difficult but the name and connotation it came with was a useful hint, Motion Blur was an amazing concept and beautifully executed, and this falls flat in comparison. Maybe I'm being too hard on it due to it's slot, but I don't enjoy it as a level either. Design Swap (#62): CCLP1 has a lot of itemswappers, and this is one of the most bland. It's also hurt by its huge size, though it gets better when you open up the center, it's still very boring running back and forth across the entire length of the grid. New Block in Town (#63): Another level. Too many things that must be done in the exact right order or the level is unsolvable, and then right at the end subverting the order that had to be used for the rest (chip then button). Thankfully, I didn't run into the hidden wall, if I did I would have been seriously pissed at this level. As it is, cool concept, poor execution. Ruined World (#83): Bleh. It's one of 2 "push all the block" levels in the 81-90 decade, along with Chip Block Galaxy (#88). I was neutral on #88, but I do not like Ruined World. In both it's very easy to miss a block, but here it's easily lethal while in #88,the worst that can happen is trapping the block-though there are many places to put the used blocks, mitigating it. Time Suspension (#101): The button device is cool. The toggles and tanks are interesting. However, I absolutely detest the walkers in this level, mostly the one in the 3x4 room. Retrieving the blocks for the bombs is so much of a hassle, and there's quite a bit to do on each run up that just gets old fast. Comfort Zone (#114): Incredibly easy to cook the level, especially if you stay in the comfort zone given as long as possible. I can't really say why I dislike it as much as I do, but it falls into this bottom CCLP1 levels list. Utter Clutter (#124): Very long, very tedious level. It feels like it attempts to emulate All Full from CC1, but it fails in that its puzzles are based around key snatching and then realizing something incredibly non-obvious near the very end-which, for me, took 5+ minutes to reach every time. Requiring all the chips works for forcing all the puzzles to be completed, but works against the concept. Amphibia (#143): The final level. If you were around at the end of my stream you would have heard a LOT of raging at this level. I hate it. There's a lot of waiting for cycles that aren't exactly clear, and though it's similar to Fireflies, I liked Fireflies. However, I figured out why-Fireflies is completely symmetrical and has a much lower monster density, and loops around to itself. Amphibia forces a specific path to each chip, turning a monster dodging cycle waiting level into an incredibly tedious and lethal maze. My only praise is that it's infinitely better than a similar level I played in a voting pack (more on that later). And finally, my top 5 hardest levels in the set. 5: Bummbua Banubauabgv (#142): I took forever to figure out this puzzle, even though the solution is painfully simple. 4: Flush (#141): This is a flawlessly crafted puzzle (barring the bold route, which I've figured out the method but not the timing...) where every step is timed with a pink ball chute that holding a trap button drowns. Avoiding the keys took 2 plays to realize, and even still I cooked the level several times after that point. However, every time it was my fault and foreseeable in advance, so I can't hold it against the level. (related note: levels 141-145 took me nearly an hour, with the last 2 of those taking about 10 minutes. 141-143 are the hardest run of levels by far!) 3: Double Diversion (#69): Didn't see that coming, did you! I struggled quite a bit with this level, triggering things too early, too late, standing in the wrong spot, moving at the wrong time, into toggle walls...it's a simple level, but I struggled quite a bit finding the solution. 2. Utter Clutter (#124): I covered this above. I believe this is the level I spent the most time on, due to the length before the part I screwed myself on. Twice. 1: Thief, You've Taken All That Was Me (#147): Of course #147 is the hardest level. It's an amazingly crafted puzzle, up front with what it expects you to do. The 4 sections of the level are all tricky puzzles in their own right, with special mention going to the sokoban in the bottom right-that took me a solid minute of looking at to figure out, and there's only 3 blocks in it! Nothing is unreasonably difficult, 3 of the 4 puzzles are logic based, the order they can be tackled is up to the player-everything is done to make this as anti-frustration as possible. The result is a puzzle that feels right at home in the #147 slot, alongside the fast paced Force Field, the monster manipulating Cloner's Maze and the ultimate (outside its sequel) sardine can level, Avalanche. CCLP1 does capture everything I liked about the original Chip's Challenge, avoids the long tedious block pushing levels, is fairly varied and unique in places. I've been playing through the voting packs after the release as well, not for the award okay maybe slightly but for a sense of perspective-I can appreciate the final product that is CCLP1 much better if I have a frame of reference for what didn't make the cut. If the voting packs are the best levels the community had to offer for the set, then CCLP1 is made up of the best of the best. So far, I agree with a vast majority of the levels that made it in (though I still don't like Amphibia or Blobs on a Plane, and think that Asteroid #44, Chip Joins Mensa Club would have been awesome to see) and most of the ones that got cut (Asteroid #3, !? for being what is this I don't even, I still don't know how you would solve this in Lynx as my route was VERY MS only, Baguette #44, I Hate You for being unnecessarily sadistic, Bookshelf #35, Coovet Blocks taking 10 minutes and having difficult dodging AND easy screws, Bookshelf #44, Audacious Scavenger Hunt for being incredibly overwhelming in its design and easy to screw without realizing it, and Cardboard #39, What's Rightfully Mine for taking its concept too far). I would give CCLP1 a 9.5 out of 10, compared to about an 8 for CC1 (I still want to finish CCLP2 and 3 before I can fairly compare to them, but I'm pretty sure my order will go CCLP1>CCLP3=CC1 for different reasons>CCLP2). Job well done CCLP1 staff. Mission accomplished. [1] If you desire, you can watch my playthrough here.
  44. 3 points
    I haven't spent so much time on CC stuff during the past year. This is mainly due to a little girl, my daughter Siv, being born on Valentine's Day last year. Suddenly, there wasn't much time to just sit down by the computer. Now, I'm thinking that perhaps blogging on CCZone is something I can do. This can be done from my phone, which is good. And I can write a little now and then in Notes and post once I have enough for a blog post. I have hesitated to start a CCZone blog before because I'm thinking perhaps you guys aren't very interesting in reading what a 29-year-old mum is writing. But I'll write more to satisfy my own desire to do something CC related, so it doesn't really matter how many will follow my posts. I'll start with how it all started. I've already written some of this in various threads in this and the old CCZone Forum, but this is a good place to collect it all, I think. My CC story started with Jezzball. It was at Christmas in 1996 and I was 11 years old. At this time, not too many people had computers at home. (Or at work for that matter, they had type writers.) But for the Christmas holidays of 1996 we went to a family that had a computer. And I spent too much time playing on it - mainly Snake and this fantastic game Jezzball that I immediately fell in love with. So, when we finally got our own computer, perhaps a year later or so, I started thinking of how to get Jezzball on it. I asked my computer geek friend, and he happened to have this game in his possession. He was happy to help. I later learned that he was in love with me. I didn't know it at the time, or maybe I sort of felt it and took advantage of it to have him help me... Anyway, he came over with a floppy disc with Jezzball for me. And he said, "I'll give you another game at the same time. I'ts called Chip's Challenge"... This seems like a good cliff hanger so that'll be it for now
  45. 3 points
  46. 3 points
    It all started on a lonely day at work. I was finishing up one of my internships during college and was taking a break, planning out a list of levels I had intended to include in my set. The CCLP3 submission deadline was approaching. I figured submitting a set with a nice, round number of 100 levels seemed like the proper thing to do - after all, one of my favorite sets, DanielB1, had that amount! And as I was nearing 100, I began thinking of a level I was hoping to place as #39 or so in my future 149-level set. The level, quite simply, would involve tanks. I never really had a tank-centric level in my set up to that point. Well, back when I was a kid, I made a rather lame level called "TANKX" (because the tanks were in the shape of an "X!" - get it?), but that was about it. But this would be different. This would be...the ultimate tank level. The tank level to end all tank levels. At first, I started with some dodging rooms. One of my favorite DanielB1 levels involved dodging balls and tanks at the same time, and it seemed like a good idea here too. Then came a little puzzle: it wouldn't hurt to have a small challenge where Chip had to push a block into a room of tanks to make them push some trap buttons, right? I could even add a hint that spelled out what to do to be nice! At this point, I figured another round of dodging was in order, and then came a point where I couldn't resist building a device that I had seen in a CheeseT1 level called "Weaver": tanks traveling on twisty, icy, checkerboard-esque paths! So far, the level was coming along well. But then I had a realization: what if...all the tanks could stop? What if the level could have an intermediary section in which Chip would have to manually control the tanks? Thus began a new quest to include some amount of challenge in this section. I had a little room that was meant to be reminiscent of "Refraction," but that wouldn't be enough, right? Eventually, I had an idea: what if Chip had to make something control the tanks temporarily? Then it dawned on me: I could use a device I had seen in MikeL2's "Bug Arranging"! Just ferry a bug over to a tank button and kill it once the tanks needed to stop! Finally, at the end, I included a mechanism to get the tanks rolling again and allow Chip to return back to the original chain of rooms to exit. By the time the level was finished, I certainly felt like I had accomplished my goal of building the most epic tank level EVER!!!!!!1, but it was definitely a far cry from the simple, placed-at-#39 level I had also hoped to build. In fact, the level was a hit among the skilled veteran crowd and eventually made it into CCLP3 at the #133 spot. So what happened? Why did my original vision to make a level that would be placed relatively early in my set turn into a monster challenge? Did my hopes for making the Ultimate Tank Level get in the way? Well...yes and no. Because while making the Ultimate Tank Level was in no way a bad goal, perhaps what it ended up involving was the issue. I've been working on a theory. I don't really know what to call it yet, but the crux of it is basically this: as designers, we often forget about just how our levels will be played by someone who's never laid eyes on them before. It's especially the case when someone plays our levels unassisted, without the use of maps in front of them. As designers, we have the ability to see our levels from the ultimate bird's-eye-view in the editor, as everything can be seen on a single map all at once. It's a far cry from the small 9x9 window to which players are confined when they take on the challenges we make. And on top of that, we know what we intend to do when we add another room or another puzzle. We know the solution. We know what comes beforehand. We know what comes afterward. Everything feels so obvious to us because we're the ones in charge. And as a result, we continue introducing more and more opportunities for players to fail when they play a level, just like I did when I built Think Tank. So what's the antidote to this problem? Quite simply...I think we can call it simplicity. And I think it's a timely topic to talk about with the next major phase of CCLP1 production in our sights. Now, before I elaborate further, please know that simplicity doesn't necessarily equal easiness. Simple levels can be quite difficult. In fact, a lot of simple levels in the original Chip's Challenge were devious, especially to players undertaking the game for the first time. But for the most part, they were also manageable. Here are a few qualities that I believe define simplicity in Chip's Challenge levels: - Allowing the player to understand what the objective of the level or section in a level is. One of the most distinct qualities that permeates just about every universally lauded level is that understanding what the level is all about isn't a chore. The end goal that must be achieved in order to reach the exit or the next room is fairly simple to understand, whether it's a specific way to solve a puzzle, getting through a series of rooms alive, or just making one's way out of a twisty maze. This doesn't mean, however, that the tasks required to reach those goals are easy. In fact, they can be difficult. Let's use the original set for reference here: Blink, Rink, DoubleMaze, Jumping Swarm, and Force Field are all levels that, according to some testimonials on Richard Field's site, were among the hardest for those who had never played Chip's Challenge before. But let's break these levels down. They're not filled with devilish puzzles and red herrings. In fact, all of them use only a few of the game elements. The first three are navigation challenges, while the latter two are tests of skill. But in every case, what needs to be done - whether it's surviving a horde of walkers while collecting chips or navigating a series of teleports - is obvious. Even levels that involve puzzles can apply this principle when the objective of the puzzle isn't difficult to understand. A great example of one in the CCLP1 submission pool is Ida4's "Lean Thinking." - Resisting the urge to be clever. Here's a mistake I've made plenty of times as a designer. If you think your red herring, guesswork challenge at the end, or making-the-player-realize-that-he-or-she-had-been-doing-everything-incorrectly-for-20-minutes moment is going to make someone go, "Oh, that was just brilliant!", chances are that it probably will frustrate more people instead. I speak painfully from experience. I'm not saying that every level that includes these sorts of mechanisms is bad; in fact, the veteran in me enjoys some of these levels. But more often than not, the average player doesn't have the time to wade through a level obfuscated by layers of deception just to understand what the point of all of it is or how to get to the next room or the exit, especially in our on-the-go, pick-up-and-quickly-play world - and especially for a game like Chip's Challenge where failure involves returning all the way to the very beginning. - Remembering that just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. This was the big mistake I made when designing Think Tank. This one right here. All those moments I had of, "Oh! I loved this mechanism in Level X; let's include it here!" neglected one issue: the landscape of my own level. And by "landscape," I'm not referring to the design quality of the level. I'm talking about how the level plays, especially when it's long and includes multiple types of challenges. That skill-intensive task far into the level may be something you can include, and it certainly may add variety, but is it really necessary, or will it just frustrate players even more? The same principle applies to the size of a level as well - and this, unfortunately, is probably one of CC1's biggest shortcomings. Did Rink need to be as large as it was, for example? Some of the best levels are those that know just how far to go before they become too repetitive. - Defining what you want the level to be before designing it. There was an active topic on CCZone back in the day when this question was asked: do you plan out your level before you build it, or do you come up with ideas as you go? Both certainly work in level design and have produced many great levels, but the former is certainly much more helpful in preventing another Think Tank. Ask yourself: what do you want this level to be? What kinds of game elements do you want it to include? How difficult do you want it to be? Some of the best levels are those that are very deliberate and measured in their design. Come up with a list of goals for your level - they don't necessarily have to be lofty or extensive - and check what you're doing with those original goals as you design to ensure that things don't get too out of control. Some tried-and-true design tactics involve focusing on a theme, limiting the number of game elements in your level and exploring a few different concepts with those elements, or doing the same thing with one easy-to-pick-up gimmick and including a gentle difficulty curve within the one level that explores that gimmick. EricS2's "They're Not Called Blocks for Nothing" is a great example of the latter that is both challenging and accessible. I hope the above qualities help further define what I personally consider "simplicity" to be and why I believe it's important for CCLP1. One of the questions I've been asked since posting the voting lists for CCLP1 is what I personally consider to be too difficult for it. I could just point to a level number in CCLP3 and say, "Everything beyond this is way too hard!" But I think treating levels on a case-by-case basis is the best approach. While evaluating various levels and sets for CCLP1, in addition to including general enjoyability and design quality in mind, I tried to keep the original Chip's Challenge in the back of my head, especially considering that CCLP1 is meant to be a legal alternative to the original game that's at least comparable in difficulty. This doesn't mean that we would automatically eliminate anything beyond Force Field's difficulty, for example. Neither does it mean that CCLP1's levels would need to contain the exact same concepts or gameplay as CC1. But I tried to keep the principles that defined CC1 levels and made them accessible to beginners - even the frustrating ones - in mind throughout this process. In the future, as CCLP4 and future level packs are produced, I hope simplicity can still be a part of level design, even among more difficult levels. Apologies to anyone who did enjoy Think Tank, by the way.
  47. 3 points
    This is not mine, but I stumbled upon this comic looking for something...

    © http://www.blowthecartridge.com/

  48. 3 points
    And may I just say that Cornering II (Level 32 of Omicron) is a horrible level
  49. 3 points
    After yesterday's stream of Giraffe set, discussing with other players and reading your thoughts on what I've already played, I feel that I have to write this. I've pointed out issues in the stream itself, but with 3 watchers, I was not expecting a miracle, also given the fact that they're in the CCLP1 staff so they probably already have some form of consciousness about the whole thing as well. First point and most important point to make, if you had to read and remember only one thing about that whole charade, that would be it. We're making a community pack, so everything should be in there. Someone's favourite level isn't necessarily a best fit for CCLP1, and so far that's what I've noticed with you guys. I feel too many levels are currently victim of their "hit or miss" factor, making them absurdly low in the rankings just because they don't happen to be of the right type... So, liking a level doesn't mean it fits in the mould, and disliking it doesn't mean it doesn't. Before going ape about a level (because you don't like the type or you haven't gotten the gimmick), you might want to stop and understand its purpose, and analyse what it could bring to CCLP1. I've seen way too much negative things about pearls, just because it doesn't suit one's particular taste. Also, dying in a level shouldn't make the rating go down. Dying has to be expected, and who wouldn't die while playing the original 149? I dare say no one. So we could probably do with a little more thinking and a little less selfishness, perhaps, maybe, question mark? As part of the staff, I'm going to tell you right now that our first priority in building this set will always be variety. Again, we're making a community pack. As veterans, we probably all hate playing a long and basic maze. But truth is, we still need some of those. Why? Try playing 100 itemswappers in a row, and as you blaze through, just realize how your mood would wear off. Yeah, exactly, the magic slowly dies and the whole thing gets heavier and heavier. This is why we certainly don't want to go "this-level-is-the-best-let's-have-149-copies-of-it-into-the-product". But wait, more than that : we have some of those mazes in the voting, and they're pretty darn gosh good! So why voting them down just because we don't like playing them?! That feels so selfish to me... What I like to do when playing a level is comparing it to the best levels I know of this particular type. If it's a dodging level (and you know I love them dodging levels), I'll ask myself if it's the best we could do for CCLP1 in terms of dodging. Same goes with every other type. How about I give you some personal favourites now? These are some levels that in my opinion are worthy of CCLP1, from what I've played so far (which is not a lot). They're not all there, some I've loved a lot as well, but here's at least some thoughts about some particular levels I've enjoyed a lot : -- From Giraffe Sleeping Dragon : Amazing concept, I haven't seen enough levels where you have to drain the exit path. The only thing I had against that one is the partial post trick involving the blocks, which makes me place that in late game situation. Cross Over : A very creative maze, not much else to say. Very well crafted. A (Mostly) Simple Maze : When I finished this, I stopped and thought "what did I just play?!" We need something like that in the early game, and I love the fact that you can solve it 358 different ways. Finding : It felt like one of those Hidden Danger ones, where you just keep on rambling everywhere not exactly understanding what's going on and eventually find yourself collecting everything. Pretty great. -- From Cardboard Blobs on a Plane : Was it to be expected from rockdet or anything?! Despite dying quite a lot when I played it (which isn't a bad thing), it was exciting and deserves a spot in the major league for me. Courtyard : I never praised this level enough, everything about it screams win. -- From Flouncy Balls. : This level reminded me of Four Square, it really made me smile a lot. Secret Passages : An amazing level, a maze without feeling like a maze. I'd be clearer with the chip hint thing, but nonetheless a fantastic composition. This is rockdet signing out, keep up the good voting job folks!
  50. 3 points
    If J.B was a Pokemon card...
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